Ontario’s medical director warns that nursing home and healthcare workers who have not received COVID-19 injections could face mandatory hits as the province aims to increase the vaccination rate “well into the 1990s” .
While several hospitals and nursing home operators have made vaccines mandatory for staff, the province will consider ordering the same for those who resist, Dr. Kieran Moore said Tuesday, as the province reached the first doses. in 85 percent of the population over 12 years of age and 79 percent. hundred with two shots.
“We would have to look very closely at the higher risk situations, such as when health workers care for vulnerable populations in which we have not yet had a high enough level of immunization,” he said at a weekly news conference. .
Moore said the higher the vaccination rate, the faster COVID will be brought under control and public health measures can be relaxed.
Opposition parties have repeatedly called on the government of Prime Minister Doug Ford to make vaccines fully mandatory for all healthcare and education workers to better protect patients and students, rather than the current policy allowing testing. regular of the unvaccinated.
Moore’s comments came as Ontario prepares to publicly release vaccination rates for all nursing homes in the coming weeks, allowing residents and their families to gauge safety levels as the fourth wave continues, powered by the highly contagious Delta variant.
Moore pointed to long-term care homes where unvaccinated workers have been blamed for bringing infections, putting residents at risk.
“I have observed that long-term care facilities have low immunization rates,” Moore said, pledging to work “more closely” with them to improve levels.
“This is a scenario that we have to learn from waves one, two and three, that it is exceptionally vulnerable, that we need to protect patients in that environment, give them the respect and adequate care they deserve,” he added.
“Part of that respect and proper care is that everyone around them should be immunized. We will work with institutions to try to maximize vaccines, but if we do not achieve the required vaccination rates to protect the vulnerable, we may have to pursue stronger policies. “
Almost 4,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19. The government reported that 10 of Ontario’s more than 600 long-term care facilities are now in an outbreak, the highest since June. There were three new cases on staff reported Tuesday.
Overall, Ontario had 574 new cases with eight deaths. The seven-day average of new infections has stalled at the low 700s in the past two weeks, but Moore cautioned against complacency as cases have skyrocketed in Alberta.
There have been 1,046 cases in students and staff since schools resumed classroom learning after Labor Day, a number that Moore called low given there are two million students and 300,000 employees.
“This is no cause for alarm and in-person learning remains safe,” Moore said, noting that most of the cases found in schools were acquired in the community, not in the classroom.
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