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News release
Jan. 28, 2021

Doctors demand action to prevent more COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths in long-term care

TORONTO, Jan. 27, 2021— Premier Doug Ford must act immediately to end the humanitarian crisis ravaging Ontario’s long-term care homes before more of the province’s elderly and vulnerable residents get sick and die from COVID-19, Ontario’s doctors said today.

“We cannot allow this deplorable situation to continue one minute longer,” said Dr. Samantha Hill, president of the Ontario Medical Association. “The vaccine supply is beyond our control, but there are many other effective initiatives we must take immediately to safeguard our most vulnerable.”

The Ontario Medical Association called on the government to implement the following measures immediately:

  • provide paid sick days to all employees, including those in long-term care, so no one has to make the difficult decision whether to stay home if they have or suspect they have COVID-19 or feel obliged to go to work to earn money for food or rent
  • hire and train more people to work in long-term care, and work with doctors to aggressively shift societal attitudes so that caring for older adults is considered to be one of the most important jobs in the world
  • require long-term care homes to immediately implement a staff and visitor screening program that includes the rapid antigen test that detects people who are not yet showing symptoms of COVID-19
  • give priority for COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care residents and health-care providers
  • provide funding to ensure all long-term care staff receive adequate training in infection prevention and control, including the proper use of personal protective equipment, and that they have adequate supplies of PPE

“Societies are judged by how they treat their elders and most vulnerable members,” said OMA CEO Allan O’Dette. “History will judge us poorly unless we all move quickly, within our areas of authority and expertise, to improve conditions in long-term care homes.”

These recommendations build on others the OMA has made to the government and Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission.

About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000-plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario’s health-care system.

For more information, please contact:
OMA Media Relations or 416-735-3690