Immunized Ontario long-term care residents can once again dine together, hug
Government responds to high vaccination rates, modifies restrictions
|Ontario is responding to high levels of COVID-19 vaccination in many long-term care homes by making changes that will help homes safely resume communal dining and social activities.
“Our government puts the safety and well-being of long-term care residents at the heart of everything we do,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
“The high vaccination uptake in long-term care homes means we can take further steps towards bringing social interactions back — supporting the mental and emotional well-being of residents while protecting their physical well-being.”
Based on advice from public health experts and in direct response to residents and their families, an updated Directive #3 for Long-Term Care Homes from the Chief Medical Officer of Health was released today, along with a guidance document for long-term care homes.
The updated Directive #3 sets out that long-term care homes can now safely resume activities such as communal dining and indoor events and gatherings, with precautions.
Once the current provincewide stay-at-home order is lifted, further direction allowing social and temporary outings for fully immunized residents will be issued. Under the updated Directive #3, all residents, regardless of their immunization status, can leave their homes on an essential absence, which includes outdoor exercise, buying groceries, or visiting the pharmacy, while the Stay-at-Home order is in place. Essential absences are not permitted when a resident is symptomatic, has been identified as a COVID-19 case or a contact, or as directed by local public health.
All residents continue to be able to leave their long-term care homes for medical absences or compassionate absences at all times.
Homes must provide residents with a medical mask for outings and remind them to maintain appropriate physical distancing and hand hygiene while away from the home.
The province continues to actively monitor COVID-19 activity, particularly in this vulnerable sector, and ensure that the health and safety of residents and staff in this sector remains a top priority, while improving residents’ quality of life.