RELEASE & REPORT: Rate of Increase in COVID-19 among Staff, Residents, and Patients in Ontario’s Health Care Settings More Than Doubled: Coalition Fears Second Wave in Long-Term Care
Posted: September 23, 2020
(September 23, 2020)
Toronto- The Ontario Health Coalition released its most recent report detailing the COVID-19 outbreaks it has tracked from reliable sources in health care settings since the beginning of the pandemic. The OHC has tracked 90 currently active outbreaks, 33 of which started from the end of August. Ottawa has 11 outbreaks in long-term care alone, and the worst ones are across two long-term care homes. One is quite large, and the other one is devastating. We have calculated that the rates of increase among staff, residents, and patients contracting COVID-19 in Ontario health and congregate care settings have more than doubled over three weeks. Here are our key findings:
- There are currently 35 active outbreaks in Ontario long-term care homes that we have found. This is higher than the numbers reported by the Ontario government and Public Health Ontario. We also found 19 active outbreaks in hospitals, 26 active outbreaks in retirement homes. Most are small (5 people or less).
- The largest outbreak in a health care setting currently is at the West End Villa long-term care home in Ottawa, operated by Extendicare. As of September 22, ninety-two residents and staff have contracted COVID-19 since August 30 when the outbreak was declared, twenty-four of whom are staff and 68 are residents. Despite claims by the Ministry of Long-Term Care on September 11 that the home had adequate staffing and by Ottawa’s Chief Medical Officer of Health that it had adequate PPE, a staff member has come forward to say that staff working directly with COVID-positive residents do not have N95 masks and families have long reported that the home has inadequate staffing (even prior to COVID-19). The home has asked for staffing help and the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa as of yesterday ordered the Ottawa Hospital to take over the home as well as Laurier Manor which also has a serious outbreak (16 staff and residents infected) also an Extendicare home. Only four residents from West End Villa are reported to have been transferred to hospital. One family has revealed to the media that testing for their grandmother who was in a shared room, did not happen until days after her roommate was exhibiting symptoms and finally got tested, and then both disinfection of the room and isolation was further delayed. Well over 100 residents and staff have contracted COVID-19 in Ottawa’s long-term care homes outbreaks since the end of August.
- By all measures, the rate of the spread of COVID-19 in health care settings is rising. The OHC has calculated that these rates have more than doubled over the last three weeks: the rate of increase for people infected cumulatively (both staff and patients/residents) in health and congregate settings; the rate of increase for staff infected cumulatively, and; the rate of increase for patients/residents infected cumulatively.