Ontario long-term care homes see staff absences of 20 to 30 per cent amid outbreaks

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Ontario's long-term care minister says COVID-19 outbreaks are hitting homes in almost all public health units, with staff absences of between 20 and 30 per cent in some areas.

Rod Phillips says there are currently outbreaks reported in 186 homes in 30 of the province's 34 public health units.

He says he expects the number will continue to rise with the highly contagious Omicron variant spreading in communities at record levels.

Phillips says staff absence rates range from 20 to 30 per cent in some of the hardest-hit areas and the ministry is in contact daily with homes that are struggling.

He says staffing is a concern, but the long-term care sector is affected differently than hospitals, which deal with new admissions while short-staffed due to virus exposures and infections.

Last month the province put limits on visitors to long-term care homes to reduce the risk of virus exposure amid Omicron's spread.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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