TORONTO — Thanks to high levels of vaccination in long-term care homes and improvements in key public health care indicators, Ontario is allowing long-term care residents to enjoy more social connections with their loved ones. The changes take effect Wednesday, June 9.
“Our government puts the safety and well-being of long-term care residents at the heart of everything we do,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “Thanks to high immunization levels, residents and their families can resume more of the activities that contribute to their quality of life.”
Working with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Directive #3 has been updated, as well as the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s visitor policy and guidance document, to set out the following:
- Residents who have been fully immunized can leave their long-term care homes for day and overnight social outings and trips.
- Residents with mobility limitations or health conditions (essentially, factors unrelated to weather) that make participating in outdoor visits highly unlikely or impossible may have one general visitor at a time inside the long-term care home, in addition to an essential caregiver.
- Regardless of resident and visitor vaccination status, brief hugs can now take place. Where both the resident and visitors are fully immunized, close physical contact, including handholding, can now take place safely. It continues to be important that residents and visitors adhere to public health measures in the home, including good hand hygiene and appropriate masking.
The province continues to actively monitor COVID-19 activity, particularly in this vulnerable sector. The health and safety of residents and staff, including their mental and emotional wellbeing, remains our top priority.