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There are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Fairhaven for Residents or Employees at this time

July 7, 2020Premier Doug Ford extends COVID-19 emergency orders

Premier Doug Ford has introduced legislation to extend COVID-19 emergency orders past the province’s expected expiration date for its state of emergency July 15th.  By doing so, it allows the government to transition away from the declaration of emergency, which allows for a continued gradual resumption of “normal” personal and business lives while keeping in place the important tools that organizations need to keep people healthy and safe, especially as the Fall arrives (with school resuming and a new respiratory/enteric outbreak season).  Emergency orders to allow for the continuation of staff safety bubbles will be extended one month at a time with the legislation expiring in one year.

The legislation will force the government to report any emergency order extensions to a legislative committee once every month and table a report on the use of the law six months after it expires in 2021.  As noted in the press release from the Province:

The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 would, if passed, ensure important measures remain in place to address the threat of COVID-19 once the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Continue emergency orders in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) under the new legislation for an initial 30 days.
  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to further extend these orders for up to 30 days at a time, as required to keep Ontarians safe.

The specific order related to long term care (ONTARIO REGULATION 77/20 – ORDER UNDER SUBSECTION 7.0.2 (4) OF THE ACT – WORK DEPLOYMENT MEASURES IN LONG-TERM CARE HOMES) can be found at:

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200077

Background

On March 21, 2020 , the Ontario government announced a new temporary order under the March 17, 2020 declaration of emergency that gives certain health service providers the powers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Long Term Care Homes must continue to operate in a pandemic which creates a complex environment to navigate between continuing operations, continuing to offer care to Residents, and adhering to Collective Agreements with CUPE and ONA.

Under the Order, Health Service Providers shall, and are authorized to take, with respect to work deployment and staffing, any reasonable necessary measures to respond to, prevent and alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to, the authority to do the following:

•        identify staffing priorities and develop, modify and implement redeployment plans;

•        conduct any skills and experience inventories of staff to identify possible alternative roles in priority areas;

•        require and collect information from staff or contractors about their availability to provide services for the Health Service Provider;

•        require the provision of and collect information from staff or contractors about their likely or actual exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19) or about any other health conditions that may affect their ability to provide services;

•        cancel or postpone services that are not related to responding to, preventing or alleviating the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19); and

•        suspend, for the duration of the Order, any grievance process with respect to any matter referred to in the Order.[6]

In essence, this order allowed Homes a certain amount of flexibility to create our “staffing bubbles” which kept employees co-horted with Residents in a specific Resident Home Area (RHA).  The benefits of this arrangement have been discussed many times before; by limiting the travel not just “in and out of Fairhaven,” it is has been critical to limit travel within Fairhaven as well.  Staffing bubbles create a protected community within a community that is protected against a virus in another area of the Home due to the limited amount of intra-building travel.  The introduction of staffing bubbles has meant a great deal of adjustment for our employees and I cannot stress enough how thankful I am that staff have given a great deal of effort to adapt to this arrangement and have expressed how proud they are to be a part of a proactive environment.

Our Home has lobbied extensively, locally and at the provincial level, to be given the ability to continue this staffing practice which has been integral to our success in preventing an outbreak at Fairhaven.  We will continue to look for ways to ensure that everyone gets as much vacation as possible as we realize that the support of mental health for all of us is key to continuing to fight against the coronavirus. 

It has been a difficult process for many people to assemble and maintain the strong staffing cohorts that we have but I feel much stronger now about our ability to effectively keep our own health and the health of our Residents.  This was a best practice measure put in place as part of our pre-emptive strategy to “act like we already have the coronavirus.”  I am extremely pleased that this important tool that we all have, to fight off a COVID outbreak, will continue to prevent the introduction of hundreds of potential cross contamination events daily.

Please be assured that Fairhaven continues rigorous screening procedures, twice a day, for anyone entering our Home and that we continue to utilize personal protective equipment that meets, or exceeds, that which is recommended by Ontario Health, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long Term Care, World Health Organization and the Ministry of Labour.  Isolation of those with symptoms will continue and we continue to reserve our Great Room as an isolation ward that is ready to be used instantly in the event that the coronavirus enters our Home.  We will continue to take every possible precaution to prevent a COVID-19 positive case in Fairhaven.

Messages to Friends & Family From Some of Our Residents …