- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Canadian Armed Forces Share Promising Exit Report on Long-Term Care Mission
The Ontario government is grateful to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for aiding our long-term care homes during this challenging time for our province as well as the delivery of their comprehensive final report.
"Ontario thanks the Canadian Armed Forces for their final report and for the invaluable assistance they provided during our time of need," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "We welcome their observations, which will help us in our ongoing work to strengthen the long-term care sector."
Under Operation LASER, which ran from April through July, the CAF deployed teams to seven long-term care homes in immediate need of critical staffing support. In May, the military delivered an initial interim report that described a disturbing and unacceptable picture of conditions in these homes.
Upon receipt of the May report, the government took immediate action, launching rigorous inspections and, appointing temporary management at several homes to help them better prevent and control outbreaks. Other measures included providing emergency funding, regulatory flexibility, staffing support, and expanded testing, along with direction and guidance on outbreak management and infection prevention and control.
The situation in all seven homes stabilized by early July, when CAF troops took their leave.
In final observations delivered to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, the CAF reports that nearly all concerns have been addressed and resolved. Moreover, the province is well equipped to oversee improvements going forward. Any outstanding concerns are largely related to the training of new staff and to the supervision necessary to ensure consistent infection prevention and control measures. Both areas will continue to be monitored closely by the ministry and home management.
The CAF interim report echoed the urgent need for an investigation into the impact of COVID-19 in long-term care. Last month, our government launched an independent, public commission that will investigate how COVID-19 spread within long-term care homes, how residents, staff, families were impacted, and the adequacy of measures taken by the province and other parties to prevent, isolate, and contain the spread. The commission will provide the government with guidance on how to better protect long-term care home residents and staff from any future outbreaks.
Ontario will share all CAF reports with commissioners to help further their investigation.
Media interested in viewing the report and supporting documents can email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy.
Over the course of the mission, the Canadian Armed Forces teams supported the following homes: Orchard Villa, Holland Christian Homes Grace Manor, Altamont Care Community, Eatonville Care Centre, Hawthorne Place Care Centre, Downsview Long Term Care, and Woodbridge Vista Care Community.
As of August 13, 2020, 14 of 626 long-term care homes are in outbreak.
Between May 25 and August 13, 2020, the number of active resident cases has dropped from 1,855 to three and the number of active staff cases from 1,335 to 33.
Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes outlines the steps that the government is taking to protect residents and staff in long-term care homes.