Effective December 17, 2021

Minister’s Directive: covid 19 Long-term care home surveillance testing and access to homes

This Minister’s Directive is issued pursuant to s. 174.1 of the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (Act), which authorizes the Minister of Long-Term Care to issue operational or policy directives respecting long-term care homes where the Minister considers it in the public interest to do so. Every licensee shall carry out every operational or policy directive that applies to the long-term care home.

This Directive is effective as of December 17, 2021. This Directive updates and replaces the previous version of this Directive dated October 15, 2021.

This Directive relates to surveillance testing and access to long-term care homes that are not experiencing an outbreak of covid 19. Additional measures apply in an outbreak situation, including measures as per local public health direction and measures contained in Directive #3 for Long-Term Care Homes issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Definitions

All terms in this Directive have the same meaning as under the Act and Ontario Regulation 79/10 under the Act, unless otherwise defined.

The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Directive.

  • Antigen test means a point-of-care rapid antigen test for the novel coronavirus known as covid 19 where the test kit has been obtained from Ontario Health and is taken in accordance with rapid antigen screening guidance.
  • Caregiver means a type of visitor who is visiting the home to provide direct care to meet the essential needs of a particular resident. Caregivers must be at least 18 years of age and must be designated by the resident or his/her substitute decision-maker (if any).
    • Direct care includes providing support or assistance to a resident that includes providing direct physical support (for example, eating, bathing and dressing) and/or providing social and emotional support.
  • Confirmed COVID-19 infection means a positive diagnostic covid 19 result, confirmed through a laboratory-based PCR test, or through a molecular point-of-care test that was taken following a positive antigen test.
  • Directive #3 means Directive #3 for Long-Term Care Homes under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 issued under section 77.7 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA), R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7,  by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as amended from time to time.
  • Fully vaccinated against covid 19 has the same meaning as in the Ministry of Health guidance: covid 19 fully vaccinated status in Ontario.
  • General visitor means a person who is not an essential visitor and is visiting the home to provide non-essential services related to either the operations of the home or a particular resident or group of residents. This excludes children under the age of one.
  • Licensee has the same meaning as under the Act.
  • Molecular point-of-care test means a point-of-care test for the novel coronavirus known as covid 19 that may be used to confirm a positive test result following an antigen test.
  • Ontario Health means the corporation continued under section 3 of the Connecting Care Act, 2019
  • PCR test means a validated real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay laboratory test for the novel coronavirus known as covid 19.
  • Rapid antigen screening guidance means the Ministry of Health’s covid 19 guidance: Considerations for antigen point-of-care testing, effective August 25, 2021 or as amended, with the exclusion of the frequency of antigen point-of-care test (POCT) provisions.
  • Regulated health profession has the same meaning as under Ontario Regulation 79/10.
  • Staff has the same meaning as under the Act.
  • Student placement means a person working in the long-term care home as part of a clinical placement requirement of an educational program of a college or university, who does not meet the definition of “staff” or “volunteer”.
  • Support worker means a person who visits a home to provide support to the critical operations of the home or to provide essential services to a resident. Essential services include, but are not limited to, services provided by regulated health professionals, emergency services, social work, moving services, legal services, post-mortem services, maintenance and repair services, food and nutrition services, water and drink delivery services, mail, delivery and courier services, assistive devices program vendors, and election or voting services.
  • Volunteer has the same meaning as under the Act.

I hereby issue the following Directive with respect to every long-term care home: