Ontario takes further steps to protect vulnerable population amid COVID-19 outbreak
At a May 27 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed additional measures to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the serious allegations made in a recent report released by the Canadian Armed Forces.
Today's announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
Last month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford sought out military assistance for five long-term care homes in the province with COVID-19 outbreaks.
The military report by the Canadian Armed Forces, which Ford called “extremely troubling,” contained disturbing allegations against the five long-term care homes.
The five long-term care homes in the report included Holland Christian Homes (Grace Manor) in Brampton, Orchard Villa in Pickering, Altamont Care Community in Scarborough, Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke and Hawthorne Place in North York.
Some allegations in the report included placing patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 with patients who are uninfected and aggressive feeding that led to residents choking.
“As soon as we received this report on Monday, we launched a full investigation and the results of our investigation will be turned over to the police,” said Ford.
“Now we’re taking further steps to protect our most vulnerable effective immediately. We have begun the process of taking over the management of five additional homes in the system that we are currently most concerned about.”
The additional homes include Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke, Hawthorne Place Care Centre in North York, Altamont Care Community in Scarborough, Orchard Villa Retirement Residence in Pickering and Camilla Care Community in Mississauga.
Ford also announced that the province has already taken over two homes due to the concerns and now they are moving to take over the five additional homes.
“We’re deploying six teams of two inspectors to each of the five homes highlighted in the armed forces report as well as the Camilla Care home in Mississauga,” said Ford, adding that they will undertake an expanded and rigorous inspection.
Additionally, they will be monitoring these homes for a period of two weeks with at least one of the inspectors staying at their assigned home over the entire period to watch over the residents.
According to Ford, they will conduct in-depth interviews with staff and residents, review charts and records and report back with their findings over the next 21 days.
“We will also conduct further inspections of the 13 other homes that are facing the greatest challenges in managing the outbreak,” said Ford.
Eight of these inspections have already been completed, according to Ford and over the next 30 days, the province has asked the Ministry of Long-Term Care to conduct random spot checks both of high-risk homes and other homes across the province.
“What we saw yesterday is the worst of the worst and we’re looking at all options,” said Ford.
“We're fully prepared to take over more homes if necessary. We are fully prepared to pull licenses and shut down facilities if it is necessary.”
Ford concluded by stating that they will do “whatever it takes” for “as long as it takes.”
“Today, I’m ordering officials to expedite the establishment of an independent commission similar to the SARS Commission,” said Ford.
Currently, the public service is taking the necessary steps to get the independent commission established in July.
“We will get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible,” concluded Ford.
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