Living in a Toronto-based long-term care facility has become a series of isolating lockdowns for Joni Asboth’s 99-year-old father, where only one positive COVID-19 test from a staff member can mean confinement for some residents.
Indeed, she said that her father John, whose room has been in and out of lockdown since September, hasn’t been outside in that period.
“At the moment, what we’re doing to the elderly is incarcerating them. There’s no other way to describe it “As both have said.
On Friday, the government will receive the report of Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, which looked at how and why the virus ravaged nursing homes and what measures were taken to prevent its spread. It will be up to the Ministry of Long-Term Care to decide whether or not to make it public.
However, even before the study is published, residents’ families and advocates are already urging the government to take specific steps, retaining certain measures implemented during the pandemic while relaxing others.
“There have been a lot of promises made, a lot of great comments, but very, very little action,” said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Health Care, which represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare staff.
The province’s auditor general issued a scathing report earlier this week, concluding that Ontario’s long-term care sector and the ministry in charge of it were not “prepared or trained” to deal with the slew of problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.