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Order issued to Aurora long-term care home battling COVID-19 outbreak

York Region's medical officer of health requires the operators of Willows Estate to take additional steps to control the outbreak affecting 19 residents and 6 health-care workers
Jan. 8, 2021
Debora Kelly

York Region's medical officer of health is taking a further step to control a COVID-19 outbreak at Willows Estate Long-Term Care Home in Aurora.

Dr. Karim Kurji issued a section 29.2 (1) class order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act today, Jan. 7, to Omni Health Care, operators of the facility at 13837 Yonge St., where the 14-day outbreak has seen 19 residents and six health-care workers confirmed positive with COVID-19.

The outbreak, the first of the pandemic for the 78-resident facility, was declared on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

The order states "there is an immediate risk to the health of persons residing" at the long-term care facility and it instructs Omni Health Care to take a series of actions to ensure the health and safety of residents and staff.

"Following a number of inspections, the home must improve staffing levels and provide appropriate leadership to staff and adhere to inspection, prevention and control measures," Dr. Kurji said.

Omni must ensure Willows Estate has the equipment, supplies, services and tools required to monitor and control the virus, the order states.

As well, the Aurora facility must have sufficient staffing to respond to the outbreak, including the supervisors required to enforce infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures, as well as train staff and essential visitors on point-of-care risk assessment and use of personal protective equipment.

Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

In a statement on COVID-19 on its website, Omni Health Care said, "We are all doing our best to keep our residents and team members safe during the COVID-19 threat that continues to affect people around the world ... In order to protect residents and each other during this pandemic, visits to long-term care homes are subject to restrictions in order to protect our residents and each other. Staff are tested twice monthly, and all visitors are actively screened with a questionnaire and temperature checks and are required to attest to receipt of negative test results within the past two weeks."