Ontario Easing Restrictions on Long-Term CarePublished on June 03, 2021
Residents can Enjoy More Outings and Close Contact with Loved Ones
TORONTO — Thanks to high levels of vaccination in long-term care homes and improvements in key public health care indicators, Ontario is allowing long-term care residents to enjoy more social connections with their loved ones. The changes take effect Wednesday, June 9.
“Our government puts the safety and well-being of long-term care residents at the heart of everything we do,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “Thanks to high immunization levels, residents and their families can resume more of the activities that contribute to their quality of life.”
Working with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Directive #3 has been updated, as well as the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s visitor policy and guidance document, to set out the following:
- Residents who have been fully immunized can leave their long-term care homes for day and overnight social outings and trips.
- Residents with mobility limitations or health conditions (essentially, factors unrelated to weather) that make participating in outdoor visits highly unlikely or impossible may have one general visitor at a time inside the long-term care home, in addition to an essential caregiver.
- Regardless of resident and visitor vaccination status, brief hugs can now take place. Where both the resident and visitors are fully immunized, close physical contact, including handholding, can now take place safely. It continues to be important that residents and visitors adhere to public health measures in the home, including good hand hygiene and appropriate masking.
The province continues to actively monitor COVID-19 activity, particularly in this vulnerable sector. The health and safety of residents and staff, including their mental and emotional wellbeing, remains our top priority.
- All Ontarians, including all staff, visitors, and residents in long-term care homes, must continue to follow public health measures including masking, physical distancing (with exceptions for fully immunized caregivers), hand hygiene, and staying at home when they are sick. While COVID-19 immunizations have been demonstrated to be very effective, it is important for Ontarians to not let their guard down during this crucial period in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccines do not provide 100 per cent protection and long-term care residents remain at higher risk when it comes to the impact of COVID-19.
- As of May 30, 2021, it is estimated that, across Ontario, 97 per cent of long-term care residents are fully immunized and more than 89 per cent of staff have received at least their first dose, with approximately 66% fully immunized.
Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.