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Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

OTTAWA — The Ontario Long Term Care Association says the federal government must do more to help provinces prepare nursing and retirement homes for the next wave of COVID-19.

Its CEO Donna Duncan is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to quickly negotiate an agreement with provincial governments to deliver funds to help long-term care systems get ready as soon as possible.

Duncan says the military members deployed to care homes in Quebec and Ontario are not a long-term solution and that hundreds more workers will need to be hired as care homes prepare for another wave of infections.

She says that will take speed, creativity and cash — to pay them and provide the protective equipment, testing and policies to make them feel safe enough to go to work.

Duncan says there also needs to be immediate infrastructure funding and agreements to find alternative spaces so homes don’t have to place more than two residents in one room.

More than 4,000 long-term care residents died of COVID-19 in Ontario and Quebec alone and Duncan says Ontario homes that had three or four patients in a single room were hit hardest by outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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