The Ontario government is taking a phased approach to reducing some of the COVID-19 measures that have been in place at long-term care (LTC) homes for the past few years.
The provincial government announced Wednesday afternoon that measures are being adjusted to reflect the high vaccine uptake among LTC residents and the availability of antivirals.
“Over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has required sacrifices from individuals, families, businesses, the health care system and especially the long-term care sector," said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore. "Thanks to their continued efforts, Ontario has reached a point where it can begin a safe, cautious and balanced reduction of public health measures in long-term care homes across the province.”
The first phase of "realigning measures" will come into effect on March 31.
Under the changes, staff, caregivers, and visitors without symptoms will not be required to get tested, outdoor masking will no longer be recommended, residents returning from an absence will not be required to have daily temperature checks, and social activities can be held without physical distancing.
The limit of having one caregiver at a time during a COVID-19 outbreak or when a resident is isolating will also be removed.
Indoor masking will still be required at LTC facilities and staff will still be required to monitor residents daily in order to detect the presence of infection.
As changes come into effect, the province is also encouraging LTC homes that kept COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination requirements in place to revisit their policies.