COVID-19 at our Long Term Care Centres
Protecting the health of our residents and staff at Peel Region’s 5 Long Term Care Centres is our top priority.
Peel Long Term Care is dedicated to protecting residents and staff from COVID-19 while maintaining their safety and emotional wellbeing.
Under the state of emergency, Peel Region’s long term care centres must follow the requirements of the Grey-Lockdown level. Control measures, screening measures, resident absences and visitor restrictions and testing requirements are in effect for staff, essential caregivers, and support workers as required by the Ontario government.
As of February 16, Peel long term care centres will use rapid antigen testing as the main COVID-19 screening test. All caregivers, support workers, and visitors (if permitted) will require a rapid antigen test each time they visit. If a centre is in a COVID-19 outbreak, we will use laboratory testing (polymerase chain reaction assay test).
Make sure you consider your personal health before visiting a long term care centre. Stay home if you’re at a higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19.
General visits are on hold until further notice to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Please consider a virtual visit. They also promote well-being.
General visitors are not essential visitors. They:
- Provide non-essential services.
- May or may not be hired by us, the resident, or substitute decision maker.
- May be family or friends who visit for social reasons that the resident or substitute decision maker decides are different from direct care. This includes care related to cognitive stimulation, meaningful connection, and relational continuity.
Visits from essential visitors are a valued part of our long term care community. Essential visitors are allowed during Grey-Lockdown level.
Essential visitors are people who perform essential support services. Examples include:
- Support workers
- People who deliver food
- Government inspectors
- Maintenance workers
- Healthcare service workers, such as those who provide x-ray and lab services
- Essential caregivers
- A person visiting a very sick or palliative resident
Testing requirements for essential visitors visiting a very sick or palliative resident during Grey-Lockdown level
Essential visitors who are visiting a very sick or palliative resident do not need to have a COVID-19 test or attest to a negative result. However, we encourage you to be tested for your safety and for the safety of residents and staff.
Essential visitors will still need to be screened for COVID-19 when entering and exiting the centre. You will not be permitted to enter the centre if you do not meet the screening requirements.
Review our information package for essential visitors who are visiting a very sick or palliative resident.
Essential caregivers are a type of essential visitor. They are chosen by the resident or substitute decision maker. They give direct care to the resident. An essential caregiver must be at least 18 years old.
Examples of essential caregivers:
- Family member who provides meaningful connection
- Private caregiver
- Paid companion
Examples of things essential caregivers help with:
- Personal hygiene
- Cognitive stimulation
Essential caregivers can also provide:
- Meaningful connection
- Relational continuity
- Help with decision-making
Designating an essential caregiver
If your loved one wants to designate an essential caregiver, complete the caregiver support form. Once you submit the form, we’ll review it to ensure it meets the needs of the resident, and the safety needs of residents and staff. We’ll notify you when the review is complete.
Visiting requirements for essential caregivers during Grey-Lockdown level:
As required by Peel Public Health:
- Only essential caregivers are permitted to visit the centre.
- 1 essential caregiver may visit a resident at a time.
When entering a centre, essential caregivers must:
- Wear the surgical mask and eye protection we give you. This mask and eye protection must be worn at all times.
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. You must also wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often during your visit and when exiting the centre.
- Be screened. This includes letting us check your temperature. You will also be screened when you exit the centre.
- Verbally attest that, in the last 14 days, you have not visited another
- Resident who is self-isolating or who has signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- Home in an outbreak.
During your visit, essential caregivers must:
- Physically distance except when providing care to a resident.
- Follow any specific guidance given to you by staff.
Before your visit, essential caregivers must:
- Review the essential caregiver information package
- Review the visitor policy and the following training videos monthly:
Current testing requirements for essential caregivers during Grey-Lockdown level
Essential caregivers must be tested for COVID-19 each week, and subsequently verbally attest to not having symptoms or testing positive. They must present their COVID-19 test result stating their name, test date, and test result either through a print-out or a mobile device.
Learn more about testing requirements
We are following all government directives and guidelines, public health recommendations, and infection prevention and control measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Current safety measures
- Only staff and those performing essential support services like food delivery, maintenance, and health care can enter our long term care centres.
- Everyone coming into the centres, including staff, is screened on the way in and out to ensure they have no symptoms, haven't travelled, or had contact with COVID-19 cases. Screening includes a temperature check before entering and exiting the centre to rule out fever.
- All staff and visitors are required to complete a point-of-care rapid antigen test or PCR test, depending on the outbreak status of the centre.
- Staff or visitors with a positive rapid antigen or PCR test will not be allowed into the centre. We will ask them to go home and follow Public Health instructions.
- All residents are screened twice daily for symptoms.
- All staff only work in 1 location to reduce the risk of exposure and spread.
- All staff who interact with residents or enter resident home areas wear surgical masks, eye protection, and other personal protective equipment, as appropriate.
- There is enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, especially on high touch surfaces.
- Staff are completing additional training on COVID-19, infection prevention, and control, and personal protective equipment.
- Adult Day Services (ADS) and other community programs have been closed. Virtual programs are being provided to ADS clients.
- Adult Day Services staff have been brought into our centres to work as personal support workers, in activation and other roles.
- Region of Peel staff from other departments are supporting our staff in various roles.
- We're working with different organizations like the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), AdvantAge Ontario, and the government of Ontario to receive more staff.
- We're accepting pre-graduation students from nursing and other programs.
- Our Human Resources department is continuously hiring and recruiting to meet the changing demands of staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Personal protective equipment
- Personal protective equipment is used to protect staff and residents.
- All staff who interact with residents or enter resident home areas wear surgical masks, eye protection, and other personal protective equipment as appropriate.
- Staff who work with residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 or close contacts wear additional personal protective equipment to protect themselves and others.
We are continuously monitoring our supply of personal protective equipment to ensure sufficient supplies. Donations are being accepted.
Per direction from Peel Public Health:
- Homes that are in outbreak are not accepting new admissions or re-admissions. Homes in outbreak can only accept new admissions or re-admissions that are reviewed and approved by Peel Public Health.
- Homes that are not in outbreak are accepting new admissions. New admissions are screened before entry and isolated for 14 days to ensure no symptoms develop.
Dropping off items to residents
- If residents need more or different clothing, we are accepting clothing drop offs from families and key contacts. Contact the centre for details.
- Other items, including food, are not being accepted at this time.
Testing for COVID-19 at our centres
- We test staff weekly for COVID-19 as required by the Ontario government.
- We work with Peel Public Health to investigate all cases.
- Residents who show symptoms or have been in close contact with a known case are tested for COVID-19.
- Staff who have symptoms or have been in contact with a known case are tested for COVID-19 and isolate for 14 days.
- Staff who may have had contact with affected individuals are given specific instructions to self-monitor and limit contact with others.
Types of testing
There are two types COVID-19 testing in Peel long term care centres:
- A validated real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay laboratory test.
- A point-of-care rapid antigen screening test (antigen test).
We test staff for COVID-19 weekly or more frequently as directed by the Ontario government or Peel Public Health.
As of February 16, Peel long term care centres will use rapid antigen testing as the main COVID-19 screening test. Caregivers, support workers, and visitors (if permitted) will require a rapid antigen test each time they visit.
Rapid antigen testing
A rapid antigen test is a quick way to see if someone might have COVID-19. It is performed on asymptomatic people only by conducting a nasal swab. The swab is then tested onsite and the result is available in 15 to 20 minutes. It is only used when a centre is not in outbreak.
By the end of February, all staff, students, and volunteers will require a rapid antigen test once a week. By March 15, they will be tested 2 to 3 times a week.
Details are as follows:
- Caregivers, support workers, and general visitors (when permitted) must undergo a rapid antigen test on the day of their visit, regardless of how many times they visit a centre in a 7-day period.
- Staff, student placements, and volunteers who enter the centre for 2 or more days in a 7-day period must undergo a rapid antigen test on non-consecutive days up to 3 times in the period.
- Staff, student placements, and volunteers who enter the centre only once in a 7-day period must undergo a rapid antigen test.
- A positive result is considered a preliminary positive COVID-19 result. It must be followed with a laboratory (PCR) test within 24 hours.
- Individuals with a positive rapid antigen test will not be allowed in the centre.
- The centre’s clinical staff conducting the test will communicate preliminary results to individuals after taking the test.
The use of rapid antigen testing does not replace other public health measures such as symptom screening, physical distancing, masking and hand hygiene, appropriate use of PPE, and strong infection and prevention control practices.
PCR testing will be used only when:
- Someone is symptomatic.
- Someone has a positive rapid antigen test result.
- Someone has been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
- A centre is in outbreak.
- They are directed by local public health.
- A COVID-19 outbreak is when 1 or more staff or residents test positive for COVID-19 at the centre.
- During an outbreak, we work closely with Peel Public Health to implement measures to protect everyone.
- Residents who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as a close contact of a known case are isolated and closely monitored.
- Staff who test positive for COVID-19 are sent home to self-isolate and follow Public Health instructions.
- Staff who work with residents who have tested positive or close contacts wear additional personal protective equipment to protect themselves and others.
- We will provide regular status updates when a centre is in outbreak.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in our centres
This data is being collected for 5 Peel Long Term Care Centres since April 2020.
As of March 1, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.
|Home||Resident cases||Staff cases||Resident deaths due to COVID-19||Resident recovered||Staff recovered|
Peel Long Term Care has access to the data in real-time. The information is reviewed daily. We update the information when new data is made available.
While safety is our top priority, staff also focus on quality of life for residents to keep their minds and spirits healthy. Long Term Care and Adult Day Services staff are working to prevent social isolation.
Staff are also using technology to connect residents with families and friends. Window visits are allowed when the weather is nice. We’re also encouraging people to send cards and drawings to their loved ones. This work was featured in a recent Toronto Star article: Through the Nursing Home Glass.