Fearing that elderly residents of long term care homes will suffer the worst mortality in the coronavirus pandemic, Canadian authorities have introduced emergency measures, from financial support in Quebec to a loosening of regulatory burdens in Ontario.
The decisions come as new scientific evidence shows the virus spreads easily among asymptomatic people, so simply monitoring symptomatic residents may have left a crucial gap in the defence of care homes.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford spoke of creating an “iron ring” around long term care homes, which were hit early and hard by COVID-19, leaving some of them crippled by staffing shortages as workers are forced to self-isolate.
At the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., seven patients people died over the weekend, which is approximately one out of every 10 residents, and many staff tested positive and are now in mandatory isolation.
“It’s tragic, and we have to do absolutely everything that’s possible,” said Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s minister of long term care, who is also a physician.
The emergency measures in Ontario include increased screening and isolation for staff and new residents, and a redeployment of health ministry inspectors to help with urgent care, as was done in the 2003 SARS outbreak.
Source: National Post