Good evening everyone,
The provincial government said a new emergency order will allow Ontario to issue a mandatory management order for long-term care homes struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks, supporting rapid and immediate management alternatives to protect residents and staff.
Our party has said this move to take over the management of long-term care homes in Ontario is welcome, but should have come much sooner, and the government needs to take action on it quickly. The NDP has been calling on the government to do this for weeks, as Ontarians watched in horror as COVID-19 swept through long-term care facilities, infecting vulnerable seniors and staff.
The provincial government said that it is working with the education sector to voluntarily place education workers in staffing roles needed at congregate care settings such as hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, women's shelters, and homes serving those with developmental disabilities. Starting later this week, eligible education sector staff who volunteer will be able to register through an online portal matching skill sets with facilities facing staff shortages in roles such as custodial, maintenance, food preparation and social services. You can read full press release here.
Starting today, people who are on the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program will not be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments. Also, any existing recipients of the Trillium Drug Benefit Program will be able to apply for income reassessments if they are experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic and expect to have an income change in 2019-2020 of 10 per cent or more compared to their 2018 income. To apply for the income reassessment, they can use this form. New applicants for the program can use these forms and submit them by mail or fax to the address listed on the forms.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott noted that Ontario will soon be rolling out a plan to conduct randomized testing of the general population.
Health Canada has now approved the first serological test for use in Canada to detect antibodies specific to the COVID-19 virus. The tests will be used in Canadian laboratories to detect COVID-19 antibodies and to better understand whether people who have been infected are immune to the virus.
The Prime Minister announced that the nearly $1 billion in emergency regional aid will flow through six regional development agencies. The funding is intended to cushion the financial blow experienced by businesses – especially in rural areas – that do not qualify for other aid programs.
The federal government also confirmed that students and recent graduates will now able to apply for the $9 billion CESB program starting this Friday. He encouraged all students in need to sign up on the Canada Revenue Agency website in advance
In advance of anticipated announcements from the province permitting additional non-essential businesses and services to resume operations, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is warning residents the threat of COVID-19 remains the same.
Windsor-Essex region now has 745 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 62 deaths.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and keep practicing social distancing.