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COVID-19 Update & Resources

Daily COVID-19 Update

December 1, 2020

Please note that ORCA has discontinued its COVID-19 Daily Updates, including case counts, and is providing retirement community operators with regular updates. Information on COVID-19 and resources for retirement communities can be found to the right.

Important information for the public will continue to be shared on this page.

December 1, 2020

Additional $10.9 Million in Funding for Retirement Homes
On November 5, as part of the 2020 Provincial Budget, the Ontario government announced they will provide an additional $10.9 million in immediate funding to the retirement homes sector to help protect residents and staff from the spread of COVID-19. This funding is an additional investment (third round of funding) under the Retirement Homes Support Program (RHSP). With the support of the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility (MSAA) and Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA), the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) has established a payment delivery system to provide equal access to the program for all licensed retirement homes in Ontario (both ORCA members and non-members). In order to facilitate outreach to all licensed retirement homes in the province, ORCA has utilized the RHRA’s contact information current as of November 3, 2020.

November 24, 2020

Changes to Alert & High Alert Communities
Effective today the following public health units are in High Alert status: City of Hamilton Public Health, Durham Region Health Department, Halton Region Public Health, Ottawa Public Health, Peel Public Health, Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services, Toronto Public Health and York Region Public Health. The following units are in Alert status: Brant County Health Unit, Huron Perth Public Health, Niagara Region Public Health, Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit, Southwestern Public Health, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit and Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. For more information, please read ORCA’s bulletin

Ontario Extends COVID-19 Orders
The Ontario Government has extended all orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 until December 21, 2020. This includes O. Reg. 118/20: Work deployment measures in retirement homes and O. Reg. 158/20: Limiting work to a single retirement home.

November 19, 2020

ORCA Advocating for Priority Access to COVID-19 Vaccine
ORCA knows a vaccine will be a fundamental tool in keeping seniors safe in the fight against COVID-19. Today, we asked the provincial government to prioritize our seniors and our hard working staff for access to a COVID-19 vaccine. You can read ORCA’s full letter to the Premier here.

November 17, 2020

Changes in Alert Statuses
Effective today, Tuesday November 17, 2020, the following local public health units are in High Alert status: City of Hamilton Public Health, Halton Region Public Health, Ottawa Public Health, Peel Public Health, Toronto Public Health, and York Region Public Health. The following local public health units are in Alert status: Brant County Health Unit, Durham Region Health Department, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Niagara Region Public Health, Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit. For more information please read ORCA’s bulletin.

November 12, 2020

Change in Timing for Alert Status Updates
The RHRA has advised that as a result of a change by the Ministry of Health when provincial COVID-19 levels are updated, retirement homes will now be notified of Alert Status updates every Friday. The changes will come into effect the following Monday. ORCA will continue to provide members with a dedicated COVID-19 bulletin each Friday noting the changes.

IPAC Hubs
The Ministry of Health has announced that, as part of the Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19 plan, local networks of Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) expertise are being developed across the health system which will work to enhance IPAC practices in community based, congregate living settings – including retirement homes. As IPAC Hub organizations become operational, they will communicate directly with the congregate living organizations in their catchment areas. For more information or to be connected to your IPAC Hub, please contact EOCoperations.moh@ontario.ca. For more information please read ORCA’s bulletin.

November 10, 2020

Additional Funding for Retirement Homes
On November 5, as part of the 2020 Provincial Budget, the Ontario government announced that they will provide an additional $10.9 million in immediate funding to the retirement home sector to help them protect residents and staff from the spread of COVID-19. This funding is an additional investment under the Retirement Homes Support Program (RHSP). ORCA is anticipating funding to flow to retirement homes near the end of November and beginning of December. There will be similar reporting and attestation requirements as the first two rounds of funding under the RHSP and the payment delivery system will be provided by ORCA to both members and non-members. The allocation of emergency funds will be the same as the original funding formula: 25 per cent of total funding will be distributed equally to all retirement homes to cover fixed costs and 75 per cent of funding will be distributed to retirement homes based on the number of suites to cover variable costs. ORCA will provide further details in the coming days once they are announced.

RHRA to Resume Routine Inspections
Beginning this month, the RHRA will resume routine inspections in retirement homes. All routine inspections will be unannounced. The RHRA will not be conducting routine inspections for retirement homes in outbreak. All RHRA inspectors have completed Public Health Ontario’s Infection Prevention and Control Core Competencies training and will carry the appropriate PPE. For more information, please read ORCA’s bulletin.

November 4, 2020

Changes to Alert & High Alert Status
On November 4, 2020, the RHRA announced changes to the list of communities in Alert and High Alert status. Effective Friday, November 6, 2020, the following changes have been made to High Alert and Alert communities. The public health units in High Alert status are Ottawa Public Health, Peel Public Health, Toronto Public Health, York Region Public Health, and Eastern Ontario Health Unit. The public health units in Alert status are Brant County Health Unit, Durham Region Health Department, City of Hamilton Public Health, and Halton Region Public Health. For more information please read ORCA’s bulletin.

October 26, 2020

ORCA Calls on Government to Include Retirement Homes in Rapid Testing
Access to rapid, non-invasive testing is pivotal in the fight against COVID-19. ORCA is calling on the provincial government to include retirement homes in their rapid testing strategy for congregate care settings. You can read ORCA’s letter to the Premier here.

October 23, 2020

Changes to Alert & High Alert Status
On October 22, 2020, the RHRA announced changes to the list of communities in Alert and High Alert status. The local public health units in High Alert status are: City of Hamilton Public Health Services (new), Eastern Ontario Health Unit (new), Halton Region Health Department, Ottawa Public Health, Peel Public Health, Toronto Public Health and York Region Public Health. The local public health units in Alert status are: Brant County Health Unit (new), Durham Region Health Department, Middlesex-London Health Unit (new), Niagara Region Public Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (new) and Windsor Essex County Health Unit (new). Region of Waterloo Public Health has been removed from Alert status.

Reminder – Resident Absences
A reminder to members that the Absences section of Directive #3 does not apply to retirement homes. The requirements related to resident absences for retirement homes continue to be guided by the Retirement Homes COVID-19 Visiting Policy from the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority and Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility. This is clarified at the bottom of page 6 in Directive #3.

October 21, 2020

Ontario Extends COVID-19 Orders
The Ontario government is extending the orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. This extension will be in effect until November 21, 2020 to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to contain the spread of COVID-19. These orders include the single site emergency order and work deployment measures in retirement homes.

October 19, 2020

Changes to Alert and High Alert Communities
On October 15, 2020, the RHRA updated the list of communities in Alert and High Alert status. A list of retirement homes in Alert and High Alert status can be found here. The local public health units in High Alert status are: Halton Region Health Department, Ottawa Public Health, Peel Public Health, Toronto Public Health and York Region Public Health. The local public health units in Alert status are: City of Hamilton Public Health Services, Durham Region Health Department, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Niagara Region Public Health, Region of Waterloo Public Health and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. For more information, please see ORCA’s bulletin.

October 15, 2020

Update to Directive #3
On October 14, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Health released an update to Directive #3 as it pertains to resident absences. This change does not impact resident absences from retirement homes. As a reminder, the requirements in Directive #3 related to absence3s are not meant to apply to retirement homes. The requirements continue to be guided by applicable Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority and Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility requirements and policies.

October 13, 2020

Alert & High Alert Status
On Friday, the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority released the communities that are in Alert and High Alert status. Each week the RHRA will send an email to operators confirming the alert status of each retirement home. ORCA will additionally relay that information. As of October 9, 2020 The local public health units in High Alert status are Ottawa Public Health, Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health. The local public health units in Alert status are: City of Hamilton Public Health Services, Durham Regional Health Department, Niagara Region Public Health and York Region Public Health. For more information, please read ORCA’s bulletin.

Retirement Home COVID-19 Visiting Policy Now in Effect
A reminder that the updated Retirement Home COVID-19 Visiting Policy is now in effect. As a reminder, the changes reflect a shift to a risk-based response system that includes specific action based on community transmission and infection spread within the sector. The majority of changes apply to general visitor and personal care provider access, resident absences, social activities and tours. For more information, please read ORCA’s bulletin.

Directives & Orders

Information About COVID-19

Guidance Documents for Providers

Public Resources