March: 25 deaths; January 2021: 3000
In March, 25 people died in LTC facilities in Ontario. Last week, nearly 3000. And our governments play ping pong with blame. Ford blames everybody and anybody within range: the federal government for not providing enough vaccines or for not administering enough vaccinations; the public for not adhering to COID restrictions and regulations enough; young people for not social distancing enough but partying as if COVID could be ignored; LTC residences for not using inadequate staff as effectively as they should or for not providing enough PPE supplies to the care workers. Find a possible target, Ford slings his shot of blame.
Call to action at the Toronto Star
Toronto Star proprietors have launched a defensive attack to initiate some kind of effective change, change in government policy, change in social behaviours, federal government response policies. The proprietors may not have a specific entity in mind as they write their open letter in The Star trying to affect constructive public responses to the government’s COVID failures but they have a specific and clear call to action:
- That the government commit to vaccination of all long-term-care residents, staff and caregivers by mid-February;
- That Ontario and Ottawa each provide $100 million in emergency funds to hire additional, desperately needed, long-term care staff and increase their wages;
- That Ontario and Ottawa create a rapid response task force of specialized health-care workers to respond to emergencies in LTC facilities;
- That there be weekly inspections of LTC facilities;
- That a dedicated provincial and federal ombudsmen office be created to review all complaints from residents, their families and staff;
- That a systematic oversight structure is created to oversee and ensure that strict long-term-care standards guaranteeing humane care for residents.
Talk, talk, talk. The Toronto Star boards the same bandwagon so many others ride, lots of talk but little action. Our Prime Minister announces all the federal initiatives and actions Ottawa has taken or launched. Meanwhile, the Federal ministry responsible for approval of new vaccines continues its study of them while other countries, the drug ministries of other countries, the UK, the USA, have given their approval. Are the vaccines being considered by our drug regulators significantly different from those vaccines approved by other countries? Is our population significantly different in genetic makeup that we need to make unique considerations?
At the very least, if you have taken care of a loved one or worse, had to move one into a long-term-care facility in Ontario, write about your experience and send it to the STAR owners, Paul Rivett and Jordan Bitov. Maybe their accumulation of stories like yours might be published and launch some kind of positive action to affect immediate and constructive action at Queen’s Park.
What are you doing?
Maybe you’re too old to join a demonstration crowd? Maybe the cold of outdoor demonstrations is a serious risk for your health? Maybe you are too busy at home caring for someone to have time for joining a public crusade to affect government policy change? Surely, it cannot be a case of complacency or apathy. Age does not less commitment or less support for constructive causes.
So, what are you doing?