Temporary measures required to help contain COVID-19 outbreak
TORONTO —The Ministry of Long-Term Care has issued a Mandatory Management Order appointing St. Mary’s General Hospital, a member of St. Joseph’s Health System, in Kitchener to temporarily manage Forest Heights long-term care home for 90 days. The order may be extended beyond the 90 days, if necessary.
Despite receiving hospital support for weeks, Forest Heights has been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19. By taking these steps, the Ministry of Long-Term Care is putting in place a rigorous management structure to help contain the spread of the disease and assist in returning the home to normal operations.
“The safety and well-being of residents and staff in long-term care have always been and will continue to be our number one priority,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “I am confident that the talented staff at St. Mary’s General Hospital and Forest Heights will work together to contain COVID-19 and stabilize the home.”
The Ministry of Long-Term Care will continue to make decisions on which long-term care homes may require additional management support on a case-by-case basis. The province is working with its health partners in addressing challenges in the long-term care sector by deploying hospital Infection Prevention and Control teams to homes, testing all staff and residents, providing personal protective equipment, and redeploying hospital staff to help support frontline workers in long-term care homes.
An emergency order was issued on May 12, 2020 allowing the Ministry of Long-Term Care to appoint alternative management to temporarily manage a long-term care home where at least one resident or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. A mandatory management order helps to address the outbreak and effectively protects vulnerable Ontarians from COVID-19.
The government recently announced the launch of an independent, non-partisan commission into Ontario’s long-term care system beginning in July 2020. Details of the commission are now being finalized, including the terms of reference, membership, leadership of the commission and reporting timelines.
Testing of long-term care residents and staff for COVID-19 has been completed with additional rounds of testing currently underway.