Ontario Independent

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Province should ‘step up’ as COVID-19 ravages long-term care homes: NDP MPP

The situation is “dire” at Ontario’s long-term care homes, where over 30% of such facilities are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, and the province needs to act now, insists and NDP MPP.

“Right now we have 207 homes in outbreaks (out of 626),” said Doly Begum, who represents the riding of Scarborough Southwest.

“We have 2,829 residents in long-term care who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 during the pandemic,” she added. “We’ve now seen that the government has given 37,551 vaccines so far out of the 140,000 vaccines that’s available. So the conditions are dire. In Scarborough, it’s devastating.”

There have been 62 COVID-19 deaths — including two more since Saturday — at Scarborough’s Tendercare Living Centre.

“We remain committed to doing everything we can, along with our partners, to help stabilize the home and have them return to normal operations,” said Krystle Caputo, a spokesperson for Ontario’s long-term care ministry.

North York General Hospital, which took over the care at Tendercare over a week ago, reported Sunday there are 64 active resident cases with 55 resident cases resolved and 34 active staff cases with 64 staff cases resolved.

Begum would like to see the province immediately hire 10,000 long-term care staff, including an infection prevention and control expert for every home.

She also wants those in all long-term care homes to receive the vaccine immediately.

“That is a must,” said Begum. “We’re sitting on a 100,000 vaccines in the freezers right now. Those need to go out — ASAP. And the final ask is for the military to come in so they can bring in the staffing as soon as possible while the hiring takes place.”

Vivian Stamatopoulos, a professor at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, wants to see both the military, with trained nurses, and the Red Cross engaged to deal with the problem.

“It’s worse now than ever before,” said Stamatopoulos. “It’s really sad to watch not only a deja vu of the first wave, but what will likely be an even worse situation in the next month or two.”

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