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New changes align with progress made under Roadmap to Reopen

VANESSA De MATTEIS, Office of the Minister of Long-term Care

In line with the move to Step Two of the government’s Roadmap to Reopen, Ontario is making additional changes to enhance long-term care home residents’ quality of life. The changes took effect Wednesday, July 7th, 2021.

“As we cautiously and safely reopen the province, no one deserves to enjoy the reopening more than long-term care residents, their families and the staff,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care. “As we head into summer, long-term care residents will be able to spend more time with their friends and families thanks to the efforts of people across Ontario rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated.”

Working with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and based on feedback from residents, their families, and other partners, the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s website and guidance document have been updated to set out the following:

• Residents can have outdoor visits of up to 10 people. • All residents may have up to two general visitors and two caregivers for an indoor visit. • Personal care services can resume. • Cohorting of residents can be relaxed during outdoor activities.

There is no longer a limit on the number of people who can be designated as a caregiver by a resident or their substitute decision-maker.

A further easing of restrictions is planned to align with the timing of Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen. These changes are expected to include:

• Removing the limits on the number of visitors to the homes • Permitting buffet and family-style dining • Providing that all residents will be able to go on absences regardless of immunization status • Resumption of off-site excursions for residents • Resumption of activities such as singing and dancing

The province continues to actively monitor COVID-19 activity, particularly in this vulnerable sector. The health and safety of residents and staff and all others who attend homes, including their mental and emotional wellbeing, remains our top priority.

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