RELEASE: COVID-19 Health Care Outbreaks are Still Fatally High: Long-Term Care Deaths Surpass Wave I & COVID-19 Infections 50% More than Wave I
Posted: February 17, 2021
(February 17, 2021)
Toronto – The results of the Ford government’s inaction prior to the winter holidays are in, and the second wave of COVID-19 now has 50% more long-term care cases than the first wave. The Ontario Health Coalition has been tracking COVID-19 outbreaks in health care settings since mid-March, and released a new report today on large outbreaks in health care settings, including long-term care, hospitals and retirement homes. The new report can be found here. Details of the eight worst currently-active long-term care outbreaks, with 298 deaths attributed to them, can be found in Table 1 below.
Since our last report January 19th up to Tuesday, February 9th, the following are the trends:
- The number of long-term care cumulative cases in the second wave has far surpassed the number in the first wave. From the beginning of the pandemic to August 25th there were 8,568 cumulative LTC cases. From September 1 to February 9 the cumulative number of LTC cases is 12,732 (8,910 residents and 3,801 staff). This is a 50% increase, and although the graph below (page 2) indicates that rate of infection in the second wave is slowing, it is not over. In particular, new variants of concern, mainly the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) is spreading in Ontario.
- As of February 9, the cumulative number of cases in the currently-active large outbreaks for all health care settings (long-term care, hospitals, retirement homes) is 8,575. On January 19, cumulative cases in the then- active large outbreaks were 9,779; thus, there was a 12.3% decrease in cases in the active large LTC, hospitals and retirement homes. A large factor in this decrease is the number of extremely large outbreaks that resolved within the last week, such as the outbreak at Tendercare Living Centre (Toronto) that resolved on February 8th after 263 people were infected and 81 died, and the outbreak at Banwell Gardens (Niagara) that resolved on February 5th after 179 people were infected and 23 died. Thus, the active outbreaks were “resolved” with tragic loss of life.
Of the active large outbreaks in health care settings (hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes):
- 155 outbreaks include 10 or more residents and staff infected;
- 63 outbreaks include 50 or more residents and staff infected;
- 24 outbreaks include 100 or more residents and staff infected;
- 8 outbreaks include 150 or more residents and staff infected;
- 4 outbreaks include 200 or more residents and staff infected;
- 1 outbreak includes 250 or more residents and staff infected, and;
- 1 outbreak includes 300 or more residents and staff infected.
Of the 208 active outbreaks in long-term care homes, 49% (or 102 long-term care homes) have more than 10 residents and staff infected. Other large outbreaks found are in 30 retirement homes and 19 large hospital outbreaks across 15 hospitals. Nine of the large currently active health care outbreaks are at long-term care and retirement homes that have already had another, now resolved, large outbreak in the second wave.
The geographic spread of large health care outbreaks continues to grow. The public health units of Chatham-Kent, Lambton-Sarnia, and Timmins all saw their first large outbreaks of the second wave within the last two weeks, and Haliburton/Kawartha/Pine Ridge within the last month.
Since January 1, there have been 5,824 LTC residents and staff infected with COVID-19, with 962 deaths at February 9.