DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: The Ontario government now has the ability to appoint new temporary management control of long-term care homes affected by a COVID-19 outbreak, if they feel the need to. On Wednesday, May 13th, the provincial government announced they have “adopted an emergency order allowing the province to issue a mandatory management order for a long-term care home struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak.” The press release explains “the manager could be any person, including a corporation or a hospital.” Ontario Premier Doug Ford felt this was a necessary step for the government to take. “We are doing everything we can to fortify the iron ring of protection around our long-term care residents and the heroic frontline staff who care for them,” the Premier said, in a press release. “By taking this step, we will be better prepared to immediately swing into action if a home is struggling to contain this deadly virus.” But, at a press conference on Wednesday, May 13th, health minister Christine Elliott clarified this action is merely a tool the province can use if the need arises. “The making of this emergency order doesn’t mean that we’re going to do anything with it right now. It’s just a tool in our toolbox to use if we need it, so we can move in rapidly if there’s some care homes that continue to have problems and are resistant to having any assistance. Then we know we can get in there quickly, because we want to save lives,” Minister Elliott explained. The provincial press release stated decisions on when and where this action will be used will be made “on a case-by-case basis.” “A long-term care home may require management assistance if they face challenges like a high number of cases among residents or staff, a high number of deaths, an outbreak that has not yet been resolved, significant staffing issues or outstanding requirements from infection prevention and control assessments,” the province explained, in the release.