Province pauses visits to long-term care facilities effective Dec. 30

TORONTO – Visitor restrictions for long-term care facilities across the province are being reinstated effective Dec. 30.

On Thursday, all general visits and social day absences will be paused.

The province announced the temporary measures in a Dec. 28 press release, citing the “evolving Omicron situation.”

Designated caregivers can continue to enter long-term care facilities provided they test negative for COVID-19 at least one week prior to entry.

As of Feb. 21, 2022, caregivers will also need to be two-dose vaccinated, according to a Dec. 14 press release.

The requirement for caregivers to be vaccinated does not apply to end-of-life situations or for those with medical exemptions.

Long-term care minister Rod Phillips stated in the Dec. 28 release that new restrictions “will help keep residents safe and help critical staff remain on the job.”

He acknowledged the measures “will impact residents’ ability to have close contact with many of their friends and family members.”

As of Dec. 28, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) had declared COVID-19 outbreaks at five long-term care facilities in the region.

“The high transmissibility of the Omicron variant will likely mean staff being exposed to or contracting COVID-19 in the community and more outbreaks in long-term care homes,” the province’s Dec. 28 release stated.

“This means that it is imperative to keep COVID-19 out of homes wherever possible and prevent spread within homes, with the most important objective being the prevention of severe outcomes for residents and staff.”

The province had previously implemented more stringent requirements concerning visitations on Dec. 17 and 22.

To view a list and map of current COVID-19 outbreaks within the WDGPH region click here.