TORONTO – Ontario’s New Democrats say the province should not hand back management of for-profit long-term care homes that the government took over during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath notes the first of those management contracts will expire next week, but says the province should maintain oversight of those facilities until all investigations are complete.
The province has appointed temporary management at 11 homes since the start of the pandemic as the facilities struggled to contain COVID-19 outbreaks.
A spokeswoman for the long-term care minister says companies will be able to resume management when risks to residents and staff have been mitigated.
She says that decision rests with the ministry’s inspection branch, and the ministry can extend the orders – which were to last for 90 days – if inspectors believe it necessary.
Ontario reported 131 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and three new deaths related to the novel coronavirus, as well as 106 newly resolved cases.
The total number of cases now stands at 41,179, which includes 2,796 deaths and 37,397 cases marked as resolved.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said that due to an issue with province’s reporting system, data that was not available Thursday from 11 of Ontario’s 34 public health units was added Friday.
Because of that reporting lag, the new numbers are an “overestimation” of the daily case count, Elliott said.
The province was able to complete 28,073 tests over the previous day, she said.
© 2020 The Canadian Press