York Region Added to List of Areas of Higher Community SpreadPublished on October 19, 2020
Precautions in place to protect residents and staff
The Ontario government is adding York Region to the City of Ottawa, City of Toronto and Region of Peel, as areas with higher community spread of COVID-19.
The change means added precautions are now in place to protect residents and staff at long-term care homes in these regions. On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health:
- Essential visitors, including caregivers, are the only visitors allowed.
- Effective Monday, October 19 at 12:01 a.m., and until further notice, short-term and temporary absences for social or personal reasons will not be allowed. Only absences for medical or compassionate reasons will be allowed.
"We recognize that these restrictions are being introduced just one week after we announced new measures for the City of Toronto, the Region of Peel, and the City of Ottawa," the Minister of Long-Term Care said. "We also know we must act fast to address changing conditions to protect the residents and staff in Ontario's long-term care homes."
A complete list of homes affected has been posted online. The province will update the list as the areas with higher community spread change. People planning a visit to a long-term care home are advised to contact the home in advance, to make sure the home is free of outbreaks and to get information on the home's visitor policy and any restrictions.
Direction on safety in long-term care homes will continue to be updated as Ontario's experience with COVID-19 evolves. The government will continue to make every effort to support the safety and emotional wellbeing of residents and the staff who care for them.
- Caregivers are essential visitors who provide direct care to residents, such as helping with feeding, mobility, hygiene, or cognitive stimulation. They can be family members or friends, privately hired caregivers, paid companions and/or translators. Each resident and/or their substitute decision maker may designate a maximum of two caregivers. However, only one caregiver at a time may visit a home in an area with higher community spread.
- All visitors to long-term care homes are required to follow public health measures (including active screening, physical distancing, hand hygiene, masking for source control) during their visits.
- Caregivers must attest to having a negative COVID-19 test within the previous fourteen days, without a subsequent positive test.
- All visitors must wear surgical/procedure masks inside long-term care homes. Essential visitors are also required to wear additional personal protective equipment for interactions with residents who are self-isolating, suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.