Ontario doctors are urging the Province to take action regarding what the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) called “the growing health and humanitarian crisis” in long-term care facilities across Ontario.
According to a release from the OMA, 254 long-term care facilities in Ontario are currently experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19, including on in Barrie involving a new variant of the virus.
The OMA has suggested paid sick days for all workers—including those in long-term care facilities—so those who are experiencing symptoms associated with the virus, or suspect they might have the virus, can stay home, rather than feel the need to go to work in order to earn enough money to pay for things like food and rent.
Additionally, the OMA is calling for rapid antigen tests on everyone living in, working in or visiting long-term care homes to enable them to turn away anyone who may have COVID-19 but is not yet showing symptoms.
“There are too many cases of COVID and too many deaths in long-term care homes to say we are managing this well enough,” Samantha Hill, president of the OMA, said in a news release.
“There are some things we can’t control, such as vaccine supplies. But we have an ethical, scientific and fiscal duty to use the tools within our control, including rapid testing and paid sick days,” she continued.
According to the OMA, long-term care residents have accounted for 66 per cent of all deaths associated with the virus since the onset of the pandemic, including 60 over the last week, for a total of 3,239 deaths.
Ten employees of long-term care facilities have also died as a result of the virus during the pandemic.
“Ontario’s doctors appreciate that the government is working to address both the immediate COVID-related challenges and the longer-term systemic issues,” Allan O’Dette, CEO of the OMA, said in the same release.
“Neither can wait. Caring for our elderly must be an urgent priority for our province. Ontario’s doctors stand at the ready to lead the needed changes,” he continued.