An Update from Laurie Scott, MPP Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-BrockPublished on April 01, 2020
Since the onset of COVID-19 I’ve been working in collaboration with my cabinet colleagues, long-term care operators, including but not limited to Pinecrest, to do everything possible to ensure that they have every tool available to prevent new infections and to respond to staffing challenges. This is a tragic situation unfolding in this small community and its heartwarming to see everyone doing everything they can to help the residents, staff and families of Pinecrest. It’s also why we continue to ask everyone to follow the Chief Medical Officers direction to stay safe, do your part and stay apart and to please self isolate. Long term care homes across the country are feeling the stress of this global pandemic and our health care workers should be applauded for their heroic deeds in keeping all long term care facilities working, and keeping residents as safe as possible at this unprecedented time. I’d also like to take this opportunity to provide the community with the following update from the Ministry of Long Term Care and provincial government in relation to Pinecrest.
This is a tragic situation and we are working around the clock with ministry officials, the local public health unit, and Extendicare Assist, who have been brought in to assist Pinecrest during this crisis.
Our government is seriously concerned about the situation at Pinecrest and we are working rapidly to support the home and others affected by COVID-19. From the outset of an outbreak being declared, the ministry directed the home to institute outbreak management protocols. All long-term care homes in Ontario are required to have plans in place to manage outbreaks. Also, once an outbreak is declared, the local public health unit is immediately engaged to begin assisting with outbreak management protocols.
Further to that, we assisted Pinecrest to secure the management company Extendicare Assist, which has a team on the ground that includes an administrator, an additional site lead who arrived today, and health care staff. They are also offering expert support through virtual channels. Per outbreak protocol, the home has been closed to all admissions and all non-essential activities, and isolation is in effect. Deep commercial cleaning is taking place in care areas of the home, the kitchen is closed and food is being safely brought in, and housekeeping and support staff are being redeployed to support other duties in the home.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have acted to provide flexibility to our long-term care homes so they are best able to fight this virus. We have issued two emergency orders, adjusted regulations, and provided guidelines to our long-term care sector.
We are also redeploying our inspectors to support the long-term care system throughout the COVID-19 crisis. These nurses, dieticians, and physiotherapists will be supporting long-term care homes on the ground through staff, supply, and care coordination, serving as point-people with Public Health, helping homes to prevent and contain infections, and many other tasks necessary to the safety and security of residents. This is not the first time we’ve done this; the provincial government used this model during SARS in 2003.
These are extraordinary times and this serious situation is evolving quickly. We want to assure Ontarians that our government is looking at every possible tool to fight this virus and we will continue to act to keep our loved ones in long-term care, as well as our heroic staff, safe.