I am posting a letter below from a homeowner to the Ministry, as well as some more documents from the Ministry(click on the link). Connie has suggested for any covid outbreaks to use coveralls or gowns and remove clothes and wash immediately after leaving rooms. Use one pair of shoes for in the room and another or outside of room. A scarf or hat can be worn over hair/neck, sunglasses or swimming goggles can be used for eye protection. If you don’t have a second pair of shoes, wear socks into the room and immediately change upon leaving. If you do not have a separate washroom, try to find a commode or wash basin.
Friday March 27, 2020
Senior Program Consultant
Mental Health and Addiction Programs Branch
Ministry of Health
56 Wellesley Street West, 9th Floor
Toronto ON M5S 2S3
Dear Ms Johnston,
I understand you and your team are working on a crisis protocol during the Covid-19 pandemic. I operate three homes under the Ministry of Health’s Homes for Special Care Act that provide community housing to individuals living with mental illness. My family has been in this business since 1969 and at this time we operate 26 beds across three facilities in the Durham Region. As this crisis rages we are in need of critical support and guidance.
To give you some perspective on the urgency: I have a resident (and I’m quite confident I am not the only one) that will not remain in the home, or on our property despite numerous warnings. He willfully perpetuates his typical pre-pandemic daily schedule by visiting coffee shops, money lenders and shelters. He does not believe in the pandemic and is recklessly endangering the health and safety of ten other residents and staff not to mention the people he encounters in his daily activities.
As the Covid-19 infection rate climbs and community concern accelerates, we are running out of time and options. At this juncture I have no recourse whatever for barring him from my home to protect the rule abiding residents and staff or for providing him alternate living solutions since he is unwilling to follow the guidelines set out by the province for the general public. As you are well aware, HSC homes provide shared accommodation. We have shared bedrooms and bathrooms and sitting rooms and kitchens. We have of course increased our sanitation standards and schedules in response to the outbreak but regardless, once introduced, we would expect the Covid-19 virus to flourish.
As of today, there is nothing I’ve been able to find that is set up with supports specific to individuals living in the community that struggle with mental health issues. Without proper and comprehensive guidelines we are needlessly endangering an already vulnerable population.
I understand this is a difficult time for all of us but I implore you we need desperately specific and comprehensive guidelines that account for the needs of vulnerable residents who, whether they recognize it or not, are making devastating decisions with far reaching consequences for themselves and those around them.
I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and I look forward to working with you to enforce a strategy that best serves our community and residents.