Ontario delivers action plan to further protect vulnerable populations amid COVID-19 outbreak

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At an April 23 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed additional measures to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and announced that the Ontario government is launching an action plan to further increase protection for vulnerable people and those who care for them. 

Details of this plan were revealed today (April 23) by Premier Doug Ford, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.

This plan, referred to as the COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People, aims to further protect vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 outbreak and will build on the government’s previous actions to protect people living in high-risk settings.

This includes homes serving those with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking, children’s residential settings and those residential settings supporting vulnerable Indigenous individuals and families both on and off-reserve.

“The plan we are announcing today will build on and support the critical work that is currently being carried out each and every day by our frontline heroes to care for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Premier Ford.

Minister Smith said, “We have been working in close partnership with the federal government, municipalities, First Nations, Indigenous organizations and bargaining agents as part of the rapid response to COVID-19 in congregate care settings.”

“The action plan we are delivering today lays out a set of interventions, tailored by sector, to enable prevention and infection control while maintaining service continuity for the benefit of our vulnerable clients and staff,” he added.

The action plan will focus on three specific areas including enhanced screening and reduced exposure to prevent spread, infection control: managing outbreaks and limiting the spread and sustaining staffing and managing staff shortages.

The government will also work with Indigenous-led congregate care settings both on and off-reserve to ensure that these tools and supports are available and adapted to meet their needs in order to keep their clients and staff safe.

It will also support mobilizing action and will help to assess high-risk locations in managing the COVID-19 outbreak by providing assistance with staffing and additional training and support.

Additionally, the government is acting to solicit ideas on more measures that can be taken immediately to further support vulnerable Ontarians and staff in high-risk settings.

“These people are most at risk during this pandemic and that’s why we are helping these organizations immediately ramp up screening and testing, deploy more protective masks and gloves, and put more boots on the ground in the fight against COVID-19,” said Ford.

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