Gta: Covid-19 hotspots in long term care homes

di Priscilla Pajdo del 6 May 2020

TORONTO - Ontario’s current case count for Covid-19 stands at 17,923 (as of May 4). This represents an increase of 370 cases from the day before (a 2.1% rate of increase). The number of deaths, 1,300, according to the Ministry of Health, tell us the virus continues to tax devastating effects.

It is evident that the concentrated struggle against this virus is in Long Term Care Homes (LTCH). There are 175 LTCH “in outbreak” and 2751 residents have tested positive. To date, Ontario has reported 972 Covid-19 related deaths among residents in LTCH (75% of all deaths in Ontario).

In Tuesday’s edition, we outlined the impact Covid-19 is having in LTCH among three of the five regional municipalities that make up the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): York, Peel and Halton.

Those who call the GTA home have the privilege to live in one of the wealthiest areas in the country. With a population of over 6 million inhabitants, the GTA is the largest metropolitan area in Canada.

Today, we turn our attention to the other two regional municipalities: the City of Toronto and Durham Region. The city of Toronto is a flourishing city with a population of 2.7 million (Chart 1). Residents who call Toronto home, on average earn a household income of $82,908 (according to Stats Canada).

Durham region, with a population of 646 thousand, is composed of eight municipalities: Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge and Whitby. The median household income for residents in Durham region is $104,378 (Chart 2).

The toll Covid-19 has taken on LTCH in both Toronto and Durham Region is illustrated in chart 3. The city of Toronto has 104 LTCH, of which 53 are in outbreak. Within these homes, 1,178 residents have tested positive and, tragically, 416 have died. These represent 43% of all deaths in Ontario’s LTCH.

Of the 19 LTCH operating in Durham Region, whose population is about one fifth that of Toronto, five are currently in outbreak. One hundred and sixty seven (167) of their residents have passed due to Covid-19. That number accounts for 17% of all deaths in Ontario LTCH (chart 3).

Shockingly, the deaths attributable to Covid-19 in LTCH across all the 5 regions of the GTA account for 727 of 972 deaths in Ontario’s LTCH facilities - 75% of all deaths in the province’s LTCH. These are all government subsidized homes.

In a press conference on May 4, the Minister of Long Term Care (LTC), Merrilee Fullerton, acknowledged that the LTC sector has been largely neglected. She did not elaborate, except to mention some capacity and staffing issues.

If the GTA is one of the wealthiest regions in the country, why is there such a crisis in LTCH? Stay tuned as we turn our attention towards the final regions making up the "Golden Horseshoe", the City of Hamilton and Niagara Region.

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