Premier Doug Ford to ask for military support in long-term care homes

Premier Doug Ford to ask for military support in long-term care homes

The Ontario Long Term Care Association, which represents almost 70 per cent of the province's private, not-for-profit, charitable, and municipal long-term care homes, praised the Progressive Conservative government's move to call in the military.

Forces personnel will be assisting in five "priority homes" in Ontario, Ford said - but long-term care minister Merrilee Fullerton declined to identify them, saying only that staffing was an issue in Toronto generally, that the situation was changing "hour-by-hour" and that military personnel would be directed to those "in greatest need".

Conducting additional testing of asymptomatic residents and staff outside of the testing guidance at 21 long-term care homes, to help understand the spread of the virus.

While the official provincial death total is 622, it may not yet include all deaths of residents in long-term care.

She says a focus must be placed on stopping outbreaks in places like seniors homes and other places where vulnerable populations live together in close quarters. That is 49 more deaths since the previous day.

As of Wednesday, there are 127 outbreaks in homes across the province with 295 reported deaths. As of Wednesday, the province says around 11,600 symptomatic and asymptomatic residents and staff have been tested.

Long-term care homes have seen 1985 cases in residents, 957 cases in staff. The facility, located in the area of Eglinton Avenue West and Scarlett Road, has 35 residents and 29 staff members who have tested positive for the virus.

According to the most recent figures from the province, there have been 12,245 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario since the pandemic began in mid-March.

The premier spoke out two weeks ago about a testing shortfall in the province, and said he wanted to see every long-term care resident and worker tested.

The province recently announced a plan to test everyone living and working in all 630 long-term care homes in Ontario.

He says nevertheless Ontario has to go back to less than 100 to 200 new cases a day before public health measures can be loosened.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that Ottawa would spend another C$9 billion on programs to help students find summer jobs. "It's a bad, awful virus that attacks the most vulnerable and that's why it's so important, if you have a loved one, I hate to say it, just keep 'em locked down and self-isolating as long as possible".

The total also includes 659 deaths and 6,221 cases that have been resolved, which puts the percentage of resolved cases over 50 per cent for the first time.

The PCs said earlier this month that they felt military aid wasn't yet necessary, though dozens of long-term care homes were facing outbreaks.

While health officials have said community spread appears to be peaking, cases in long-term care continue to rise.

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