Dec 29, 2020

By Jane Brown

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Ontario’s long term care minister is promising to fix long term care in this province but not until after the pandemic.

Merrilee Fullerton made the comment Tuesday morning while a deadly second wave outbreak in the province’s nursing homes has led to 779 additional COVID-19 related deaths, on top of 1,817 in the first wave.

“We need to rebuild and reform long term care once we get out of this,” Fullerton told CBC Radio, “And that’s what we’re working on. The staffing is also something were shoring up on an immediate basis, resident support needs, making sure that we do the rapid training program, the return of service and four hours of direct care.”

Dr. Fullerton also claims the management of outbreaks in nursing homes during the second wave of COVID-19 is much better than in the first wave and blamed community spread for what’s happening now.

“Looking at COVID in the community. That’s the real difference between wave one and wave two…and as community cases rise it becomes much harder to keep it out of the homes,” Fullerton defended.

Both Dr. Fullerton and Premier Doug Ford promised higher staffing levels in long term care after the first wave, a promise which has so far failed to materialize.

Minister Fullerton also spoke to a new specialized care centre for long term care residents in the GTA who must be temporarily located which is run by staff at Toronto Grace Health Centre.

Meantime, a long term care home in Scarborough in the midst of a deadly COVID-19 outbreak has lost two more residents to the virus.

The death toll related to the new coronavirus at the Tendercare Living Centre now sits at 43, according to North York General Hospital which took over control of the home on Christmas Day.

For more information on a campaign by CARP asking for Premier Doug Ford to fire his long term care minister for failing to protect residents in the second wave, go to carp.ca.

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