Province updates COVID-19 testing requirements for long-term care homes

TORONTO – If you’re one of the over 7.2 million Ontarians who are now fully vaccinated, you’ll no longer need to be tested when visiting loved ones at a long-term care home.

The newly revised guidelines, which come into effect on July 16, also suggest exempting fully vaccinated people from routine testing at retirement homes.

“Based on the latest scientific evidence and best medical advice, we are removing the requirement of repeated surveillance testing from asymptomatic caregivers, visitors and staff who are fully immunized,” long-term care minister Rod Phillips stated in a July 14 press release.

“Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people will still need to be tested to ensure a greater level of protection for residents and staff.”

On July 16, the province also enters into step three of its three-step reopening plan, allowing for unlimited visitors to care homes, group dining, off-site excursions and absences, and singing and dancing.

The province estimates 87 to 93% of staff, 91 to 95% of caregivers and all residents in long-term care homes are fully vaccinated.