May 25th, 2020

Horwath calls for takeover of many more than two care homes

QUEEN’S PARK — Weeks late, the government has stepped in to take over two private for-profit long-term care facilities that are failing to protect their residents against COVID-19 — but NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says many more need to come under the direct management of the province.

“For weeks, we have all heard horror stories about long-term care homes leaving residents with COVID-19 in the same room as healthy residents, denying proper personal protective equipment to everyone in the facility, and leaving families in the dark about their loved ones with poor communication practices,” said Horwath. “Taking over two homes suggests that the government believes only two long-term care homes are failing to protect precious lives, and that’s far from true.”

The NDP has been calling for the province and its public health authority to take over direct management of long-term care homes for weeks.

Ontario’s first COVID-19 death in long-term care was on March 24. By March 31, British Columbia’s chief medical officer of health had assumed responsibility for some nursing home staff in the Vancouver region, and by April 5, this authority was in effect province wide. Quebec was taking similar steps by mid-April.

In mid-April, in response to calls from the NDP, health unions and health care staff to take over homes, Ontario’s Long Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton refused, saying: “Other provinces do things differently than Ontario.”