Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister calls reports of workers at long term care homes walking off the job because of unsafe conditions an “incredibly horrific and heart wrenching situation.”

Chrystia Freeland says the federal government is aware of the situation and is rolling out new measures in response.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer says the new directives for long term care homes, coming out as soon as Saturday, are supported by all the countries’ Chief Medical Officers of Health.

Dr. Theresa Tam refers to these new recommendations as a key legacy in the pandemic in terms of how the country ensures the safety and support of residents, visitors and staff in long term care settings.

How long term care facilities support physical distancing measures will be ramped up including the complete ban of gatherings for mealtimes, and restrictions on reusing common items without securely disinfecting them as needed.

There will also be heightened screening of all COVID-19 signs and symptoms for all visitors and staff.

Health Canada is now recommending identifying staff who may work at more than one facility and preventing it from happening wherever possible.

More directives will be included in these new guidelines.

Dr. Tam says the full list should be on Health Canada’s website within the day.