COVID-19 on the rise in Ontario long-term care homes

Ontario reported four new outbreaks and 13 new cases among long-term care residents on Sunday


Ontario reported four more COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes on Sunday, as well as 13 new cases among residents and 18 among staff.

There are now a total of 49 long-term care outbreaks, with 128 active resident cases and 153 active staff cases.

At the beginning of September, there were 18 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care homes.

In the height of the first wave back in April, Ontario had over 140 outbreaks in long-term care homes.

Of the 49 long-term care homes with active outbreaks, 10 are located in Peel, seven in Ottawa and five in Toronto.

The rise comes as new infections have surged in Ontario, prompting calls for tighter restrictions on restaurants, bars and gyms in Toronto.

New visitor restrictions take effect on Monday

In response to growing COVID-19 case numbers within long-term care sector, the provincial government announced new restrictions for visitors in hotspot regions last Tuesday.

Effective October 5, visits to long-term care homes will be restricted to “staff, essential visitors and essential caregivers only” in high-risk regions.

Premier Doug Ford has yet to specify which regions are included on the list, though he noted Ottawa and areas of the GTA will be part of it.

Each resident is allowed a maximum of two essential caregivers, which can include family members and loved ones as long as they sign up as caregivers.

In Ontario, deaths in long-term care homes have accounted for nearly two thirds of all COVID-19 deaths in the province.

In a study published Wednesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers found that residents were much more likely to die from COVID-19 in long-term care homes in Ontario than in British Columbia, despite similar long-term care systems.

As of September 10, there were 1,817 long-term care resident deaths in Ontario compared with 156 in British Columbia.

Researchers that forecast what the second wave might look like in Ontario point to potential spread to elderly populations as the key to whether the epidemic will worsen.

Currently, around 60 per cent of daily new cases are occurring among people under 40. During the height of the first wave, that number hovered under 25 per cent consistently.

However, if cases begin to surge among people over 60, potential for hospitalization and intensive care and an overwhelmed healthcare system increases.

COVID-19 cases in Ontario long-term care homes on October 4

The following homes with current active outbreaks are reporting five or more confirmed cases among residents:

Fairview Nursing Home: 49

Vermont Square: 26

Extendicare West End Villa: 22

Norwood Nursing Home: 12

Yee Hong Centre – Markham: 7

The following homes with current active outbreaks are reporting five or more confirmed cases among staff:

Extendicare West End Villa: 31

Fairview Nursing Home: 18

Vermont Square: 15

Norwood Nursing Home: 6

@juliamastro

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