Ban non-essential visits to long-term care homes during coronavirus pandemic: Ontario chief medical officer

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health is asking all long-term care homes to ban non-essential visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, issued a memo to the LTC sector strongly recommending that homes only allow essential visitors to enter,” Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton said in a tweet Saturday morning.

“We need to work together to keep our loved ones in long-term care homes safe.”

The tweet comes after the provincial government announced on Wednesday that they were stepping up screening for visitors at the facilities and enhancing the assessment of infections.

“Outbreaks can occur in long-term care homes throughout the year and, as it is flu season, homes currently have respiratory infection outbreak protocols in place,” Health Minister Christine Elliott and Minister Fullerton said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“When long-term care homes submit samples for standard respiratory testing, they will now also be tested for COVID-19 automatically to ensure the province identifies potentially unknown cases.”

Canada’s only confirmed death related to COVID-19 occurred in a B.C. long-term care home. Several other cases have since been confirmed in the home. A second long-term care facility in B.C. has also reported cases of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 22 additional cases of novel coronavirus in the province Saturday morning, bringing the provincial total up to 101.

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