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Deaths in nursing homes account for a whopping 81 percent of Canada’s coronavirus fatalities, a report says.
The startling statistic – which is attributed to Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam – is nearly double the rate of that in the U.S., according to The Washington Post.
“We shouldn’t have soldiers taking care of seniors,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly said last month, after the country’s military was deployed to help hard-hit facilities in Ontario and Quebec. “In the weeks and months to come, we will all have to ask tough questions about how it came to this.”
In one facility outside of Toronto, 100 people – including 40 staff members – are currently battling the coronavirus, while another 57 residents have died from it, the Post reports.
Advocates told the newspaper that cramped buildings and traveling employees – many of which work part-time shifts at several facilities to make a living – are two factors that have contributed to the severity of the outbreaks inside Canada’s nursing homes.
“It wasn’t inevitable that this had to happen, and that’s the most troubling thing,” Nathan Stall, a geriatrician at Toronto’s Sinai Health System, told The Washington Post, referring to initial decisions made by elected officials to focus their coronavirus response toward hospitals.
“The decision-makers’ fear was driven by young people on ventilators in New York City, and it didn’t move the societal needle that people were dying in nursing homes elsewhere or even in our own country,” he added.