Canada reported 17,063 cases of coronavirus and 345 deaths on Tuesday.
Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, has made an emergency order that gives long-term care homes more flexibility in staffing and recruitment, bypassing collective agreements that limit who can be hired and using volunteers; and redeployed inspectors to provide additional assistance.
“What we see happening to our seniors and our long-term care homes … is difficult to deal with, difficult to understand and difficult to manage,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
“WAR ZONE” IN CERTAIN HOUSES
The Ontario order will ease the pressure on workers who say there are not enough staff to provide adequate care to residents, especially during an outbreak, said Miranda Ferrier, president of the ‘Ontario Personal Support Workers Association.
“They absolutely need help. It’s a war zone in some of these long-term care homes, “said Ferrier. “Our hope with this emergency order is that people will be hired to help with things like snack carts, food, laundry, assistance (personal support workers) where they can. “
Front-line workers have warned of inadequate protective equipment in some long-term care facilities in Quebec, which has become Canada’s epicenter for the pandemic with 9,340 positive cases.
An employee of a Quebec nursing home told Reuters that she bought her own face shield because the home she works in does not provide equipment due to the lack of positive tests. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the worker said she had dealt with two sick residents and were awaiting the results of the COVID-19 test.
Faced with a staffing shortage, Quebec has increased the salaries of most health workers from 4% to 8% and announced Tuesday that it will deploy more nurses and doctors to nursing homes.