TORONTO — Ontario will be removing the requirement that fully-immunized and asymptomatic staff, caregivers and visitors be tested before entering long-term care homes. This update to testing requirements was made in consultation with Dr. Kieran Moore, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and is based on the latest scientific evidence and expert advice. Updated guidance to retirement homes will also recommend exempting fully immunized people from routine testing. This change will coincide with Step Three of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, coming into effect on July 16, 2021.
“Based on the latest scientific evidence and best medical advice, we are removing the requirement of repeated surveillance testing from asymptomatic caregivers, visitors and staff who are fully immunized. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people will still need to be tested to ensure a greater level of protection for residents and staff,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care. “These changes are made possible because of the incredible efforts of millions of Ontarians who rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated.”
The province continues to actively monitor COVID-19 activity and variants of concern, particularly in this vulnerable sector. The health and safety of residents, staff and all others who attend homes, including their mental and emotional wellbeing, remains a top priority.
As previously announced, restrictions to be eased as part of Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen include:
- Removing the limits on the number of visitors to homes
- Permitting buffet and family style dining
- Providing all residents the ability to go on absences
- Resumption of off-site excursions for residents
- Resumption of activities such as singing and dancing
“Our government’s strategy to protect retirement home residents, staff and their families through vaccinations is working,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “This means they will soon be able to resume many activities that they enjoyed before the pandemic.”