TORONTO — Ontario will now make it mandatory for long-term care staff, support workers and volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-November.
Minister of Long-Term Care Rod Phillips made the announcement Friday afternoon at Queen’s Park, saying that vaccination rates in many homes are not high enough considering the risk of the Delta variant.
“We know that long-term care residents have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As new variants continue to spread, we are seeing a growing number of outbreaks in long-term care homes where the risk to those most vulnerable remains high,” Phillips said in a statement.
“This enhanced suite of measures, including mandatory vaccinations for those working in the homes of long-term care residents, is one more way we will provide them the greatest level of protection possible.”
Staff, support workers, students and volunteers will have until Nov. 15 to show proof they have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or a valid medical exemption. If they do not, they will not be able to enter the facility.
Newly hired staff will be required to be fully vaccinated before they begin working, unless they have a valid medical exemption.
Homes will also begin randomly testing fully-vaccinated individuals, including caregivers and visitors, to help detect possible breakthrough cases.
This is a breaking news story. More to come.