COVID-19 is moving through communities and nursing homes but the lack of official public reporting means people have been left largely in the dark about the latest surge in cases, a new report from the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) says.
There were at least 36 COVID-19-related deaths in long-term care (LTC) homes between Oct. 6-12 and 161 active outbreaks as of Oct. 8, the OHC says.
“This may be the last update with reliable information in LTC because as of Oct. 14, the Ministry of Long-Term Care has issued new guidance limiting testing to symptomatic residents, removing the requirement for testing on admission, and changing the definition of an outbreak to two or more residents with a known epi-link,” an OHC statement Friday says.
“Staff infections will no longer contribute to an outbreak and homes are now going to be self-reporting their cases.”
COVID-19 Resources Canada estimates that on average since December, 48,349 Ontarians a day were infected for the first time.
Public Health Ontario data current to Oct. 8 reveals that 16.4% of the population has received two primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and two follow-up booster doses.
Half the population has had a single booster dose and 80.6% has had at least two doses.
“The (Doug) Ford government has ceased regular reporting on the spread of COVID-19. Public Health no longer publishes daily and weekly epidemiologic reports and it has become steadily more difficult to get accurate numbers,” the OHC statement says.
“Not only are the government and Public Health not reporting much of the data previously available, they have also cut testing and abandoned trace and isolation measures. Regardless, there is some data available and infectious disease specialists have taken up the challenge of identifying transmission of the virus using wastewater, serology and other evidence.”