TORONTO, Jan. 21, 2021—Ontario’s doctors called on Premier Doug Ford today to take urgent action to end the growing health and humanitarian crisis in the province’s long-term care homes.
The Ontario Medical Association said the government could take two immediate steps to help ease the crisis; there now are COVID outbreaks in 254 long-term care homes, including one in Barrie involving a new variant.
“There are too many cases of COVID and too many deaths in long-term care homes to say we are managing this well enough,” said Dr. Samantha Hill, president of the Ontario Medical Association. “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.”
Long-term care residents have accounted for two-thirds of all COVID deaths in Ontario since the pandemic began, including 60 between Friday and Tuesday alone, bringing the total to 3,239. Ten LTC workers have also died since the pandemic began.
The OMA also urges the government to continue making LTC residents and staff the priority for vaccines and implement the recommendations doctors made last week to improve conditions in LTC, including:
“Ontario’s doctors appreciate that the government is working to address both the immediate COVID-related challenges and the longer-term systemic issues,” said OMA CEO Allan O’Dette. “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.”
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.
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