The Ontario Nurses’ Association filed court injunctions against care homes operated by Rykka Care Centres LP on Thursday.
This includes the Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville.
ONA has asked the court to order Rykka Care Centres to immediately provide staff with any and all personal protective equipment needed to tend to the sick safely and without spreading COVID-19 to other seniors and the wider community.
ONA also wants an order forcing Rykka Care to segregate infected seniors from residents who have tested negative. And ban staff tending to infected residents from tending to residents who have tested negative, and vice versa.
In a different action, Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Healthcare president, Sharleen Stewart wrote a letter to the Ford government Thursday calling on the province to take control of Anson Place and a sister Rykka Eatonville care centre for the duration of the pandemic outbreak.
Addressing Ford and deputy premier Christine Elliott In her letter, Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, said:
“To date, 46 people have died that we are aware of but the actual number is likely higher.
“Our members working on the front line of these facilities have lost all confidence that everything that can be done is being done to keep people safe and protected. For that reason, we are asking the province to use your powers to put these facilities in trusteeship and have the government take over administrative control.
“This matter requires your urgent attention because lives are literally at stake.”
However, this may be akin to closing the fabled stable door.
Earlier this week, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, H-N Minister of Health noted that while staff at Anson Place had initially been slow in recognizing the illness as being more than seasonal flu, giving the virus time to spread for up to three weeks, they had since been working very closely with the health unit and following all directives to contain the virus.
“The people who work at Anson Place are only working at Anson Place,” he said.
All staff have been directed to self-isolate at home and restrict outside activities to necessities such as gassing up their vehicles. They all wear personal protective equipment at all times.
All residents are confined to their rooms, including those who have tested negative. No resident may move to an alternative location because some who test negative may still be carrying the virus. Visitors are banned.
LETTER TO PREMIER FORD AND DEPUTY PREMIER ELLIOTT FROM SEIU HEALTHCARE PRESIDENT
17 April 2020
Healthcare Premier Ford and Deputy Premier Elliott:
I am writing to share the serious concerns our members have about management at Eatonville Care Place and Anson Place Care Centre—nursing homes owned by the same company. To date, 46 people have died that we are aware of, but the actual number is likely higher. Our members working on the frontline of these facilities have lost all confidence that everything that can be done is being done to keep people safe and protected.
For that reason, we are asking the province to use your powers to put these facilities in trusteeship and have the government take over administrative and operational control.
The provincial governments of Quebec and British Columbia have used their authorities to investigate where necessary and assume control when management fail to uphold their obligations to staff and residents. We believe management at these facilities have failed.
This matter requires your urgent attention because lives are literally at stake.
Today, the entire SEIU family is mourning the loss of our dear member of 31 years from Scarborough, a caring and compassionate personal support worker (PSW) who died because of COVID-19. I am requesting an immediate discussion with Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, Minister Fullerton, and Chief Medical Officer Williams, to review what further actions the provincial government is prepared to take to support frontline healthcare workers as they fight for all of us against the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am accessible anytime to discuss with you at your earliest availability.
SEIU Healthcare President