Staff, caregivers and visitors who have been fully immunized with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and have no symptoms of the disease will no longer need to be tested before entering a long-term care facility . In a press release, the province said the change was made with input from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health and was based on “the latest scientific evidence and expert advice.”
The updated guidelines will also recommend that nursing homes exempt fully vaccinated people from routine testing.
The changes will take effect on July 16 to coincide with the move of Ontario’s 34 public health units to Stage 3 of the government’s plan to reopen.
Unvaccinated or partially immunized staff, caregivers and visitors should still be tested.
Stage 3 will also see the following changes:
- Remove limits on the number of visitors to long-term care and retirement homes.
- Allowing for a family style buffet and dinner.
- Offer all residents the opportunity to be absent.
- Resumption of off-site excursions for residents.
- Resumption of activities such as singing and dancing.
The latest data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care indicates that four of the province’s approximately 630 long-term care homes are currently struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks.
Meanwhile, the number of cases today is down from last Wednesday, when Ontario recorded 194 more infections.
Here are some other key indicators and figures for the pandemic taken from the daily provincial update from the Department of Health:
Seven-day average of daily cases: 164
Completed tests: 29 085
Province-wide test positivity rate: 0.6%, the lowest recorded on a Wednesday since the end of August 2020
Active cases: 1,478, the least province-wide since September 7, 2020
Intensive care patients with COVID-related illnesses: 180; 116 needed a ventilator to breathe
New deaths: Seven, bringing the official death toll to 9,265
Vaccination: 179,197, which is significantly down from the numbers reported on recent Wednesdays. About 79.5 percent of adults in Ontario have now received at least one shot of the vaccine.