COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

Long-term Care and Retirement Home Facilities

What are the current COVID-19 Immunization Guidelines for long-term care facilities?

The Ontario Ministry of Health has developed Guidance for COVID-19 Immunization In Long-Term Care Homes and Retirement Homes.

For local COVID-19 vaccine information and updates, visit

VISITING CARE FACILITIES: What are the current directives?

COVID-19 Directive #3 for Long-Term Care Homes issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) establishes procedures and precautions for visits to long-term care homes and retirement homes.

In the Green-Prevent or Yellow-Protect levels, general visitors are limited to a maximum of 2 per resident in long-term care and retirement homes. General visitors are not permitted when:
• The home has an outbreak
• The resident is self-isolating or symptomatic
• The local public health unit is in the Orange-Restrict, Red-Control or Grey-Lockdown levels

Visitors are required to follow public health measures (e.g., active screening, physical distancing, hand hygiene, masking) for the duration of their visit in the home; non-compliance could result in a discontinuation of visits. See the following documents for full details:
COVID-19: Visiting Long-term Care Homes. (visitors are required to pass COVID-19 test requirement)
Retirement Home COVID-19 Visiting Policy (visitors are not required to pass COVID-19 test requirement)

Call the home for more information.
COVID-19: Long-term care homes in areas with visitor restrictions

Before visiting any resident for the first time, training should be provided to caregivers by the home on how to safely provide direct care.  After visiting a resident for the first time and at least once every month after, the home should ask caregivers to verbally attest that they have re-read the home’s visitor policy.

The home’s visitor guidance should include the following Public Health Ontario training resources:
Putting on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Guidance Document
Putting on Putting on One-Piece Facial Protection -Video
Taking off One-Piece Facial Protection – Video
How to Hand Wash – Video

Are residents able to leave their long-term care facility?

According to Directive #3 issued by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, residents are able to leave their Long-term Care facility for short stay and temporary absences.

Short-term and temporary absences for social or personal reasons from long-term care homes will NOT be allowed if the home is currently in a COVID-19 outbreak or if the home is located within a public health unit region under Orange (Restrict), Red (Control), or Grey (Lockdown) as part of the the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework.

Contact the home for more information.

Short Stay Absences:
• Residents are now able to leave for short stay absences (an absence that is not overnight) for health care, social, or other reasons. After returning to the home, residents must be actively screened but do not need to be tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate
◦ Emergency room visits that take place over a single night should also be considered a short stay absence and not require testing or self-isolation upon return. If the resident is admitted to the hospital at any time or the emergency room visit takes place over two or more nights, homes should follow the readmission process.
• Residents must be provided with a medical mask to be worn at all times when outside of the home.

Temporary Absences:
• Temporary absences (for one or more nights) may be permitted for residents at the discretion of the home, who will approve based on a case by case risk assessment.  Residents will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning.  
• If the temporary absence request is denied, the home must communicate the rationale for this decision to the resident/substitute decision maker in writing.

Where can I find signage for my care facility?

Welcome to our Home Long-Term Care Sign
Limited Visits for Long-Term Care Sign

What are the current testing guidelines? 

Testing Requirements and Frequency: 
In the Green-Prevent and Yellow-Protect levels, every individual entering a long-term care facility must be tested for COVID-19 within the last two weeks. Caregivers, support workers and general visitors must provide proof of their negative COVID-19 test result. 

In the Orange-Restrict, Red-Control and Grey-Lockdown levels, testing frequency moves to weekly for those permitted to enter; general visitors are not permitted.

COVID-19 Symptoms
COVID-19 Test Requisition
Long-Term Care (LTC) Home Testing
COVID-19: Long-term care home surveillance testing and access to homes
Testing for retirement homes recommendations (Ministry for Seniors Accessibility)