The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) urges Premier Doug Ford to deliver on his promise to do everything in his power to defeat COVID-19. RNAO is re-issuing its request to implement – effective today – the following measures:
- A full province-wide lockdown as during the first wave of this pandemic, plus a curfew similar to the one in effect in Quebec.
- No reopening of schools (we welcome the province’s decision made on Jan. 7).
- Increased supports for vulnerable populations, including safe places to isolate, paid sick days and a moratorium on evictions.
- Vaccinations 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week for residents, their essential care partners and staff in long-term care homes.
While nurses appreciated the video issued by the premier on Jan. 10, and agree with his message that “we are all in this together,” the message in itself will not smother this virus. “COVID-19 is an insidious virus that is causing immense suffering for individuals and communities, as well as bringing our health system to its knees,” says Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO’s CEO.
Gravely concerned about the slow rate of vaccination across the province, RNAO urges the government to make immediate use of community care providers – public health, primary care and home care – and their existing vaccine distribution infrastructures. “We call for the deployment of thousands of primary care nurses and physicians to long-term care homes in order to provide round-the-clock vaccinations to nursing home residents, their essential care partners and staff members,” urges Morgan Hoffarth, RNAO’s president. “These resources could also be deployed to other vulnerable persons living in congregate settings, such as shelters and correctional facilities.” In addition, “thousands of nurses are already delivering home care services and they could vaccinate their clients as well as the caregivers who live with them,” Hoffarth says.
With modelling predictions that suggest COVID-19 case counts will rise to more than 5,000 per day and as high as 6,000 within the coming weeks, a failure to act with swift and immediate measures will lead to catastrophic and preventable consequences. “The pattern of ‘too little, too late’ has led to increasing numbers of COVID-19-related deaths, delays for non-COVID-19 surgeries, procedures and treatments, and the inevitable premature and preventable deaths resulting from those delays. It has also led to increased staff burnout,” says Grinspun, imploring Premier Ford to act swiftly today.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.