Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care Says Government Cannot Track COVID-19 in Homes – fr

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Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care to Respond to COVID-19 Commission Report Monday – fr


TORONTO – Ontario Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton has suggested that sluggish government bureaucracy was a big reason for the litany of failures outlined in the Ontario Long-Term Care Commission report COVID- 19 published last week, answering a few questions and refusing to apologize when asked by reporters.

The commission found that his ministry had “no plan” to protect residents from the coronavirus pandemic which ultimately killed nearly 4,000 people in its care.

The 322-page Long-Term Care Commission report released Friday night found the area not sufficiently prepared for a pandemic, and this was made worse by the province’s slow and responsive response when the virus arrived .

He cited the lack of personal protective equipment, the lack of adequate testing, an inappropriate cohort of infected and uninfected residents as well as a general lack of recognition of the risks posed by COVID-19 identified by other jurisdictions in the months preceding the arrival of the pandemic in Ontario. .

Fullerton said they were doing everything they could as fast as they could, but it wasn’t enough.

“You know, I think government measures and processes, we were trying to go fast for government. And COVID-19 was moving faster, ”she said.

More than 3,900 residents of long-term care homes with confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 have died between March 2020 and this month, along with at least 11 staff members.

The report found that full inspections were rarely conducted in person in the months leading up to the onset of the pandemic, and residents were frequently to receive COVID-19 test results in the mail days after outbreaks in the first few months of the first wave, which made them virtually useless.

Deaths did not ease until the end of February, after the province was able to offer the vaccination to all staff and residents.

As minister responsible for the sector, Fullerton made no apologies for the many painful lapses that resulted in thousands of deaths in the province’s 626 long-term care homes between March 2020 and February 2021.

“You know, I think collectively, as a society, we have to do some soul-searching and understand why, you know, it took a pandemic to resolve the capacity issues in long-term care and the care staffing issues. long term, ”she said. when asked if she would apologize.

She said her ministry had doubled the number of personal support workers graduating this year, from 8,000 to 16,000, and reiterated past promises to increase the quality of care in all homes and improve infection prevention practices and inspections.

“I take absolute responsibility for the well-being of long-term care residents and staff. And with all the other entities working around the clock to fix it, you know, once every 100 years a pandemic from an unknown virus. “

She then left the room after answering three questions and three follow-up questions, even as reporters in the room asked her to stay as there were many more reporters who wanted to interview her.

In Question Period later Monday morning, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath told Fullerton staffing levels in most long-term care homes were lower than they were at the start of the first wave of the pandemic, and criticized the government for committing to raising the standard of home care to four hours a day, only by 2025.

“Nobody believes this minister will make these changes, that she will make them in Ontario, will she resign now?”

Fullerton responded by calling Horwath’s remarks “incredibly ignorant,” a remark she then had to withdraw.

“If you want to have adequate staff in long-term care, if you want to have the necessary support for residents, you actually have to train the staff, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Fullerton said. “To get four hours of care, you need people who want to work in long-term care, who are trained to work in long-term care.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees said on Monday the report underscored the need for an immediate increase in paid hours for personal support workers and other workers in the industry, as well as “a decision that would recognize the growing evidence aerosol transmission of COVID-19 ”, which the Ontario government has been slow to accept.

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