When the pandemic first began to tear through Ontario long-term care homes, infection prevention and control (IPAC) experts that work at Public Health Ontario (PHO) were sidelined over concerns about the agency’s standing and funding amid the province’s reorganization of the health-care system. That’s the concerning message from Dr. Gary Garber‘s testimony to the province’s independent commission into long-term care.
Garber is the former medical director of infection prevention and control at Public Health Ontario. He told the long-term care commission that the agency had significant IPAC expertise on staff — including 25 to 30 IPAC experts who were accustomed to going into hospitals and long-term care homes during outbreaks to do investigations and issue recommendations.
But he said they did not go to long-term care homes suffering from the earliest outbreaks in the province — some of which became among the deadliest — over bureaucratic concerns.