Ontario reports 153 new COVID-19 cases, updates testing guidelines for long-term care homes

Ontario reported 153 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as the provincial government said it’s revising testing requirements at long-term care homes.

Staff, caregivers and visitors who have been fully-immunized with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and show no symptoms of the illness will no longer need to be tested before entering a long-term care facility.

In a news release, the province said the change was made with input from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health and was based on the “latest scientific evidence and expert advice.”

The updated guidance will also recommend that retirement homes exempt fully-vaccinated people from routine testing.

The changes will come into effect on July 16 to coincide with Ontario’s 34 public health units moving into Step 3 of the government’s reopening plan.

Unvaccinated or partially immunized staff, caregivers and visitors will still be required to undergo testing.

Step 3 will also see the following changes:

  • Removing the limits on the number of visitors to long-term care and retirement homes.
  • Permitting buffet and family style dining.
  • Providing all residents the ability to go on absences.
  • Resumption of off-site excursions for residents.
  • Resumption of activities such as singing and dancing.

The latest data from the Ministry of Long-term Care says that four of the province’s 630 or so long-term care homes are currently dealing with outbreaks of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, today’s case count is down from last Wednesday, when Ontario logged 194 further infections.

Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health’s daily provincial update:

Seven-day average of daily cases: 164

Tests completed: 29,085

Provincewide test positivity rate: 0.6 per cent, the lowest reported on a Wednesday since late August 2020

Active cases: 1,478, the fewest provincewide since Sept. 7, 2020

Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 180; 116 needed a ventilator to breathe

New deaths: Seven, pushing the official death toll to 9,265

Vaccinations: 179,197, which is down considerably from figures reported on recent Wednesdays. Roughly 79.5 per cent of adults in Ontario have now had at least one shot of a vaccine.

View original article here Source