With the Province moving into Stage 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen plan on Friday July 16 comes some significant changes that will also take effect on Friday for Long Term Care homes in Ontario. The new Directive for Long Term care will provide changes including:
- Rapid Antigen Testing is no longer required for asymptomatic, fully immunized individuals (staff, visitor, or otherwise).
- A person is considered fully immunized if they have received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine or combination of COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada (e.g., two doses of a two-dose vaccine series, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine series) and they received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to entry.
- Proof of full immunization (both doses) must be provided before entry into the facility. People can prove they are fully immunized by showing the physical or emailed receipt that was provided to them at the time of vaccination. Vaccination receipts can also be downloaded or printed through the Provincial Portal at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccine-booking-support#vaccination-receipts
- For all those requiring Rapid Antigen testing, the frequency for testing has now changed to every 3 days.
- All individuals entering the home ages 2 and up must follow the testing requirements. Parental consent is required for minors (individuals under 18 years of age) that undergo testing. If consent is not given and/or testing is refused, the individual is not permitted to enter the home.
- Even with the removal of limits to visitors for residents, a maximum of 4 indoor visitors at a time per resident will be permitted to ensure proper physical distancing of 2 metres during visits.
- Outdoor visits will still be available for those visitors who do not wish to receive a Rapid Antigen Test. Outdoor visits with greater than four visitors need to be coordinated ahead of time to ensure the proper setting is available for larger groups
- Essential caregivers do not need to schedule their visits. A maximum of two Essential caregivers may visit indoors at one time
- General visitors must still coordinate their visits through email with the receptionist and up to 2 general visitors may visit indoors at one time
- Active screening is still in place for all who enter the facility and for those visitors taking part in outdoor visitors.
- Eye protection is no longer required to be worn by visitors or staff unless in a room that is isolated under droplet precautions.
- Universal masking is still in place for all people entering the facility and for the duration of indoor and outdoor visits by visitors. Food and beverages cannot be consumed by visitors during visits.
- Requirements contingent upon homes’ immunization coverage rates of 85% residents and 70% staff fully immunized have been removed
- As long as the facility is not in outbreak, and a resident is not symptomatic or on isolation protocol, all absences are permitted from the facility, regardless of immunization status and they may leave the home for temporary absences, which includes absences that involve two or more days and one or more nights for non-medical reasons. Prior approval by the Villa is required for multiple day and overnight absences.
- For fully immunized residents being absent from the facility for two or more days and one or more nights, they must have a PCR test upon their return and isolated until a negative test result is received
- For residents who are not immunized or partially immunized, and are absent from the facility for two or more days and one or more nights, they must be isolated for 10 days upon their return, with a PCR test conducted upon return to facility and on day 8 after return to the facility.
- The Villa will provide a medical mask to the resident (as tolerated) and remind them to follow public health measures, such as physical distancing and hand hygiene, while they are away from the home. With this in mind, residents should wear medical masks (as tolerated) and follow public health measures during an absence.
- Life Enrichment Department off-site excursions for residents, regardless of immunization level, may resume
- Activities involving singing and dancing may resume within the home
- Residents will be monitored for symptoms once daily
- Although the return to communal dining for residents has been permitted with these new Directives, the Villa will not be changing the current dining model as of yet. We will be taking a more gradual and cautious approach to returning to communal dining over the next few weeks or so.
These steps forward will be very beneficial for residents, families, and staff alike. Although our COVD case numbers have decreased dramatically both provincially and locally, we must still ensure we do our best to keep our residents safe and healthy. Please adhere to all of the recommended measures for public health and safety when in the community including wearing a mask, proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, and respecting guidelines for social gatherings.
Thanks again for all that you do for those living and working at the Villa, and enjoy your summer.