Amy T. Hsu, Natasha Lane, Samir K. Sinha, Julie Dunning, Misha Dhuper, Zaina Kahiel, Heidi Sveistrup
- While there are many sources of data on the impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian population in general, timely, consistent and accurate information on the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canadian long-term care homes continue to be a challenge in this pandemic.
- As new information becomes available and cases evolved or resolved, we have observed changes to previously estimated prevalence and case fatality of residents in Canadian long-term care homes.
- We estimate a case fatality rate of 36% (range 20 to 42%) among residents in Canadian long-term care homes.
- Based on publicly available information from official sources, we have found that deaths in long-term care residents currently represent up to 85% of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada.
- Difference in population size and density in each province, which influences the rate of community transmission, may partially affect regional differences in prevalence of COVID-19 cases in long-term care homes, rather than the proportions of provincial/territorial populations 80 years or older living in these settings.
- Given the vulnerability of residents in long-term care homes, the proper implementation of infection prevention and control policies is the most effective strategy to reduce overall rates of deaths in this population.
- Policy measures to ensure the adequate staffing, the limitation of movement of healthcare workers between multiple sites, access to personal protective equipment and ensuring that staff know how to use it properly are key in helping to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19 and associated mortality in Canadian long-term care home residents.
- With decreasing growth rate, many provinces are starting to consider relaxing visitation restrictions. Continued screening for both typical and atypical symptoms, as well as periodic surveillance testing of long-term care staff and residents are critical for balancing resident safety and well-being.