Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province is preparing to "deploy every resource" to help contain COVID-19 outbreaks at more than 100 long-term care homes. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Nursing home testing in Ontario dropped dramatically last year: report 

As a CBC News investigation finds that less than 10 Ontario nursing homes received full-scale inspections last year, Premier Doug Ford is pledging to “deploy every resource” to long-term care facilities where dozens of seniors have died from the spread of COVID-19.

Ford’s pledge came Tuesday as he extended the provincial state of emergency to mid-May.

Ford said 114 COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported in long-term care facilities in Ontario.

Three homes, he said, have reported more than 20 deaths each:

Outside Toronto’s Eatonville Care Centre, where 27 people have died, a body wrapped in a white sheet is rolled out on a stretcher, pushed by a woman dressed head-to-toe in protective gear. (Chris Mulligan/CBC)

  • Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon: 29 deaths.
  • Eatonville Care Centre in Toronto: 27 deaths.
  • Seven Oaks in Toronto: 22 deaths.

CBC News reports that other notable outbreaks include:

  • Anson Place Retirement Home in Hagersville: 19 deaths.
  • Almonte Country Haven in Mississippi Mills: 18 deaths.
  • Lundy Manor Retirement Residence in Niagara Falls: 10 deaths.
  • Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham: nine deaths.
  • Village of Humber Heights in Toronto: eight deaths.
  • Hillsdale Terraces in Oshawa: seven deaths.

Ford said the province was set to launch an action plan on Wednesday to fight COVID-19 in long-term care homes. 

“We’ll spare no expense to protect our most vulnerable,” Ford said.

But in a CBC News story published today, Katie Pederson, Melissa Mancini and David Common report that only nine of 626 nursing homes in Ontario received comprehensive “resident quality inspections” last year.

Eighteen seniors have now died at Almonte Country Haven in Mississippi Mills.  (Jean Delisle/CBC News)

The investigative team found that while most of the homes received a so-called RQI in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the number dropped to just over half in 2018 and nine last year.

In a statement, the province’s Ministry of Long-Term Care told CBC News that every home is inspected “at least once a year,” and that the ministry’s “risk-based inspection framework determines how frequent and intense inspections will be.”

Pederson, Mancini and Common’s report can be viewed here.

Toronto’s Eatonville long-term care home is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. The centre says 27 of its residents have died of the illness. (Evan Tsuyoshi Mitsui/CBC)

Public Health Ontario figures show there have been 135 deaths in the homes, 813 cases of COVID-19 among residents and 437 cases among staff.

“The sad truth is our long-term care homes are quickly turning into the front line.” Ford said Tuesday.

“As long as COVID-19 continues to spread; as long as our seniors and those most vulnerable are at risk, Ontario must remain in the position to take any and all actions necessary to fight this virus.” 

With files from CBC News (Katie Pederson, Melissa Mancini and David Common) The Canadian Press (Shawn Jeffords)

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