B.C. among the best in Canada for COVID deaths in long term care homes | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. among the best in Canada for COVID deaths in long term care homes

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March 31, 2021 - 7:30 AM

A new study shows that Canada is one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to keeping long term care residents safe from COVID-19.

In Canada, 69 per cent of COVID deaths between March 1, 2020 and Feb. 15, 2021 were in long term care, compared to an international average of 41 per cent, according to a study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

"Long Term Care residents in Canada are at high risk of complications from COVID-19 because of advanced age (median of 85 years) and complex chronic conditions,” the report states.

The study focuses mostly on the differences between the first and second wave of the pandemic and doesn’t speculate on why Canada’s performance was so poor compared to the rest of the world.

It does, however, make a number of recommendations for changes in long term care, including an increase to staffing levels, implementing strong infection control practices and improving home inspection and enforcement processes.

While the study doesn’t break down percentages by province, it does contain a chart that shows how many deaths were due to COVID-19 per 100,000 population for eight of the 10 provinces.

That’s broken down between the first wave of the pandemic (defined as March 1 to Aug. 31, 2020) and the second wave (Sept. 1, 2020 to Feb. 15, 2021).

In the first wave, B.C. had only three deaths per 100,000 population. Five other provinces did worse, with Quebec recording the highest rate at 58 cases.

During the second wave, B.C. hit 12 deaths per 100,000. Again, there were five other provinces that fared worse. Manitoba led the way with 34 cases but Quebec had 33.

This chart shows the number of deaths per 100,000 population in most Canadian provinces.
This chart shows the number of deaths per 100,000 population in most Canadian provinces.
Image Credit: Submitted/Canadian Institute for Health Information.

During the one-year period the study covered, more than 2,500 care homes in Canada had outbreaks with more than 14,000 residents dying. Only 30 staff members died. None of those were in B.C.

Overall, about 80,000 residents and staff in long term care homes in Canada were infected with COVID, about 10 per cent of all the cases, the report says.

The full report can be viewed here.

Separate data provided to iNFOnews.ca by the B.C. Ministry of Health shows that the mortality rate in long term care homes was 26.98 per cent for all of 2020, up from 25.14 per cent in 2019.

It shows that, of 9,525 deaths in long term care homes last year, 617 were attributed to COVID out of a total population of 35,308 residents.

The data doesn’t look so bad when compared to the previous three years where the mortality rate was as high as 25.48 per cent in 2017.

There were about 700 fewer residents in B.C. long term care homes in 2020 compared to 2017. The Canadian Institute for Health Information report says that there was a 40 per cent drop in admissions to long term care homes during the first wave of the pandemic.

Image Credit: Submitted/B.C. Ministry of Health

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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