Ford must urgently implement Ontario's LTC COVID-19 commission recommendations

“There was no plan,” LTC COVID-19 commission say Ontario was not prepared

“There was no plan,” LTC COVID-19 commission say Ontario was not prepared

Ontario wasn't ready for COVID-19, didn't learn lessons from he SARS outbreak, and the province's decision to delay implementing mandatory COVID measures may have contributed to the devastation, the report concluded.

The commissioners said the government was ill-prepared for a pandemic, and failed to act as quickly as other jurisdictions to protect the long-term care sector.

There were "problematic" enforcement practices by the Ministry of Long-term Care.

The report says Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer, was particularly slow to act on the growing information about Covid-19.

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

It suggested a new model to build long-term care homes in the future, similar to what's in place for privately funded hospitals, courthouses and light rail transit systems. "However, others actually operate the infrastructure - the courts, hospitals, etc. - once built", the report said. Our almost 400 members are located across the province and include not-for-profit, charitable, and municipal long-term care homes, seniors' housing, assisted living in supportive housing and community service agencies.

The report provided a figure showing 13 of 15 long-term care homes with the highest number of resident deaths were for-profit entities.

The province was hesitant to acknowledge that community spread was happening, that asymptomatic patients could spread the virus and that masks would be helpful when it comes to prevention.

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"The delay is bad", the commissioners wrote.

The military leaders who organized a deployment of long-term care homes also testified, describing the circumstances surrounding the mission and the poor reporting of conditions within the facilities.

Ontario launched the commission on May 19, 2020, in an effort to determine what went wrong in long-term care homes during the pandemic's first wave. The report adds "by the time COVID-19 arrived, successive governments had allowed 90 per cent of the province's stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) to expire and be destroyed, without replacement". In one home, 50 per cent of staff were on a floor, forcing them to transfer between positive COVID-19 units and non-COVID-19 units.

The commission, led by Frank Marrocco, associate chief justice of the Superior Court, heard from long-term care residents, staff and management.

She then walked out of the room after taking three questions and three follow up questions, even as reporters in the room asked her to stay as there were many more journalists who wanted to question her.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 1,050 new cases in Toronto, 819 in Peel Region, 286 in York Region, 158 in Ottawa and 157 in Durham Region. "Today's final report provides important independent insights into the tragedy that transpired in long-term care, and what needs to occur to ensure this never happens again".

AdvantAge Ontario has been the trusted voice for senior care for 100 years and is the only provincial association representing the full spectrum of the senior care continuum.

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