COVID-19 Update for November 18 2020 – 2:00pm

Today, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced support for new Ontario Health Teams and provided updates on COVID-19 rapid testing and testing in long-term care homes.

Ontario Health Teams

Premier Ford announced that the Ontario government is providing $2.4 million to support an additional 13 Ontario Health Teams.

Health teams will provide patients and families access to 24/7 navigation and care coordination services. This includes further expansion of virtual care for patients through dedicated funding to maintain access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the additional health teams, the province will have a total of 42 teams, serving more than 86 per cent of Ontario’s population.

Rapid Testing

Premier Ford said that Ontario has received about 98,000 ID NOW rapid tests from Ottawa, along with an unspecified number of Panbio tests. He said that these tests are being delivered to areas with the greatest need, such as hot spots and areas where turnaround times for results are lengthy, such as remote and rural areas.

Long-term Care

The Ontario government is updating testing guidance for long-term care homes in communities with greater transmission of COVID-19. Starting next week, in long-term care homes in public health unit regions in the Orange-Restrict, Red-Control and Lockdown levels under the COVID-19 Response Framework, the following changes will be made:

  • Staff, essential caregivers and support workers who provide direct care to residents need to be tested for COVID-19 weekly and show proof of a negative test result.
  • Support workers who do not provide direct care to residents must verbally attest to having received a negative COVID-19 test result in the past two weeks and not subsequently tested positive.

For long-term care homes in regions at the Green-Prevent and Yellow-Protect levels, testing will continue every two weeks for staff, volunteers, caregivers and visitors.

Further Measures

Finally, Premier Ford said that “we are staring down the barrel of another lockdown” for hotspot regions such as Toronto, York and Peel. He said he will make an announcement on Friday about any new measures that may be imposed.

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