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These numbers reveal a worrying trend in Ontario long-term-care home deaths

Posted: January 2, 2021

(January 1, 2021)

By: Jenna Moon & Andrew Bailey, Toronto Star

These numbers reveal a worrying trend in Ontario long-term-care home deaths

Without immediate action and extra interventions to protect residents of Ontario’s long-term-care homes, the next few weeks could mean disaster, experts warn.

An analysis by the Star of the number of deaths in Ontario’s long-term-care homes is already showing a worrying trend.

The data is the latest to pull back the curtain on the mounting toll COVID-19 has taken on care homes, which have been ravaged by the pandemic, exposing systemic and long-standing issues to deadly effect.

As of Jan. 1, 2,814 residents of the province’s long-term-care homes have died since early last year. .

In the past week, the seven-day average of deaths has doubled, new numbers show. The average has tripled since the beginning of December.

“It’s not that we don’t know what needs to be done. And it’s not that we didn’t learn more about what works (and) what doesn’t work,” said Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of seniors’ advocacy group CanAge.

“The challenge has been the lag time in implementing those needed changes in Ontario — that has been fundamentally the problem.”

There were 194 long-term-care homes reporting active outbreaks on Dec. 28, more than at any point during the pandemic’s first wave. Outbreaks were still hovering at 187, according to the province’s ast update on Dec. 30

So far, the pandemic’s early onslaught has still proven most deadly.

Of all deaths, nearly 70 per cent came during the first wave between March and Aug. 31, according to a Star analysis.