The Ontario government says it is further tightening restrictions surrounding long-term care home residents by implementing “temporary measures” amid a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.
Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care Rod Phillips said access to long-term care homes by general visitors will be paused. However, designated caregivers are still allowed in.
In addition, day absences for all residents for social purposes will also be paused.
The measures take effect on Thursday, Dec. 30 at 12:01 a.m.
“We know that long-term care residents face an increased risk of COVID-19. Given the high community infection rates we’re seeing with the Omicron variant, the time for more action is now,” Phillips said.
“I understand that these new, temporary measures will impact residents’ ability to have close contact with many of their friends and family members,” Phillips continued. “We must remain vigilant against the Omicron variant to protect long-term care residents and staff.”
Phillips said 41 long-term care homes are currently experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, up from 37 on Monday. While 93 residents and 161 staff have tested positive for COVID-19, none are hospitalized, he said.
He added that 84 per cent of eligible residents and 43 per cent of eligible workers had received COVID-19 vaccine booster doses as of last week.
Earlier this month, the province also mandated that any visitor will need to be fully vaccinated in order to enter a long-term care home. All fully vaccinated visitors must also test negative on a rapid test upon entry.
— With files from The Canadian Press