Today’s News

Canadian Armed Forces Long Term Care Facility report released 

(Above image, 4 Health Services Group members prepare to send support to Quebec’s long-term care facilities (LTCF) under Operation LASER, April 27, 2020, 2nd Canadian Division Support Base (2 CDSB) Valcartier, Quebec. Photo: Corporal Marc-André Leclerc.)

Today the Ontario government released the Long-Term Care Facility report by the Canadian Armed Forces. Described as “deeply disturbing by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he noted the report made him feel angry. 

“There are things in there that are extremely troubling and we need to take action,” Trudeau said during his daily briefing.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Ontario government released a press release asking the federal government and the Canadian Armed Forces to extend their current mission for at least an additional 30 days in Long Term Care Facilities (LTCF).

Premier Doug Ford at today, May 26, 2020, press conference where he talked about the Long-Term Care Facilities report.

“The health and safety of the residents and staff in our long-term care homes is our number one priority. It is clear the long-term care system in Ontario must be fixed,” said Premier Ford. “The report from the Canadian Armed Forces on these five long-term care homes is extremely troubling. Our government will take immediate action to investigate the concerns raised by the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure the safety of our residents in these five long-term care homes and in homes across the province.”

Dated May 14, 2020, 4th Canadian Divison Commander Brigadier General Conrad Mialkowski released OP Laser – JTFC Observations in Long Term Care Facilities in Ontario. 

Read the Report Below

He noted his intent “is meant to complement that discussion by ensuring a command awareness on these issues so as to support the Surgeon General, the CFHS and our CAF medical and non-medial general duty personnel as they execute daily tasks as an ACC team in this unexpected and difficult operating environment.” 

Lieutenant Colonel James Stocker, Center, the Commanding officer of Territorial Battalion Group 1, has his temperature taken upon entering the Hawthorne Place Care Center in Toronto, Ontario on April 24, 2020. LCol Stocker was a member of a team of Canadian Armed Forces personnel that met with representatives from several long term care facilities in order to assess their needs during the Covid-19 epidemic.

The report highlights five Long-term Care Facilities, where Joint Task Force (Central) has employed Augmented Civilian Care (ACC) teams: 

      • Holland Christain Homes (Grace Manor) – Brampton
      • Altamont Care Community – Scarborough
      • Orchard Villa – Pickering
      • Hawthorne Place Care Centre – North York
      • Eatonville Care Centre – Etobicoke 

The Ontario government has already begun an active investigation based on the CAF report.

According to the Ontario Government press release, to date, one death has been referred to the Office of the Chief Coroner for investigation. In addition to continued regular inspections, the Ministry of Long-Term Care Inspections Branch will immediately investigate specific critical incidents referred to in the report.

Members of 4 Health Services Group (4 H Svcs Gp) receive training in order to be able to help the civil authorities in CHSLDs during Operation LASER at Saint-Jean Garrison on 18 April 2020. Photo: Corporal Myki Poirier-Joyal, St-Jean/Montreal Imaging Section.

The government recently announced it would be launching an independent commission into Ontario’s long-term care system beginning in September. 

“The government also continues to work with hospital partners to assist long-term care homes across the province with clinical, infection prevention and control, and other supports,” stated the press release. 

As of today, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, the CAF confirmed 36 members of the military employed on Operation Laser in long-term care facilities tested positive for COVID-19. In Ontario, 14 have tested positive, and in Quebec, 22 have tested positive.

Currently, there are 1,855 active resident cases, which is the lowest since April 20. There are 1,335 active staff cases, which is the lowest since April 27. 

Master Corporal Sonny Gauthier, Medical Technician with the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre, combs a resident’s hair at the Centre d’hébergement Nazaire-Piché during Operation LASER in Montreal, Quebec, on May 19, 2020. Photo: Aviator Zamir Muminiar, Imaging 2 Cdn Div, St-Jean/Montreal.

The press release noted, in regards to the 626 long-term care facilities in Ontario, 150 are still experiencing an outbreak, which is down from 190. 

Currently, 476 homes are not experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak right now. 

Timeline: 

April 22:  the Ontario government formally requested assistance from the federal government in the form of the Canadian Armed Forces to support five long-term care homes that were in crisis. These homes were amongst the hardest hit in Ontario with COVID-19 outbreaks and had significant challenges that could not be rectified through various efforts. Those challenges included: staffing, infection prevention and control, resident safety, food preparation, and janitorial services.

May 10:  the Canadian Armed Forces reported 15 out of 20 categories being in high-risk. As of May 25, based on the Canadian Armed Forces assessment, 13 of these 15 categories were no longer considered high-risk.

May 26: the Ontario government is once again calling on the federal government and the Canadian Armed Forces to extend their current mission for at least an additional 30 days.

“Thank you to the brave women and men in our Canadian Armed Forces who have helped immensely to stabilize our hardest hit long-term care homes,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “We are continuing to take action to ensure our most vulnerable people living in our long-term care homes receive safe and quality care.”

Graphic Warning: Here is the full report. It may be upsetting to read. 

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