From ‘risk is low’ to calling in the army: 2 months of Ontario’s COVID-19 response in long-term care

Two months in the past, Ontario had simply 4 confirmed instances of COVID-19. Now there are greater than 12,000, and not less than 759 deaths. Two-thirds of the lifeless lived within the province’s long-term care houses.

This timeline exhibits what steps Ontario took — and did not take — to guard the residents and employees of nursing houses because the coronavirus unfold. 

Feb 23 

The variety of deaths worldwide from COVID-19 surpasses 2,400. In Italy, police checkpoints seal off 11 cities and the Lombardy area closes faculties and cinemas. Ontario reviews one new constructive check for the coronavirus. “Given the person’s scientific evaluation and historical past, there’s a low threat that she was infectious,” says Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams. “I wish to guarantee the general public that the danger to Ontarians stays low.”

March 2

Well being Minister Christine Elliott declares the groups in command of Ontario’s strategic response to the novel coronavirus. It is led by a command table of senior officers. One of many members is the deputy minister of long-term care. 

March 8 

Canada’s first loss of life from COVID-19 is reported. The sufferer is a resident of a long-term care house in North Vancouver, B.C. The variety of confirmed instances in Ontario reaches 29. “Right now, the virus just isn’t circulating regionally,” Williams says in a news release

Chief medical officer of well being Dr. David Williams stated the province is now additionally doing COVID-19 testing on samples from long-term care houses the place there may be any respiratory outbreak. (CBC)

March 9 

In a memo, Ontario’s assistant deputy minister for long-term care instructs houses to display guests for signs of the sickness “the place attainable over the telephone.” The screening doesn’t lengthen to employees till March 11, the day the World Well being Group declares COVID-19 a pandemic.

March 13 

The province confirms 20 new constructive instances of the virus, bringing the entire to 79. Williams “strongly recommends” that long-term care houses stop non-essential visits, however stops in need of making it an order. 

March 16 

“Our authorities is taking all the required precautions to make sure family members in Ontario’s long-term care houses are protected and safe,” says Well being Minister Christine Elliott and Minister of Lengthy-Time period Care Merrillee Fullerton in a statement. Ontario is but to report any deaths from COVID-19. 

March 17 

Premier Doug Ford declares a state of emergency in Ontario. There have been 189 confirmed instances throughout the province. 

March 18 

An outbreak is said on the Pinecrest Nursing Dwelling in Bobcaygeon, Ont. Inside three weeks, 28 of the house’s 64 residents will die. 

The Pinecrest Nursing Dwelling in Bobcaygeon is among the many first long-term care amenities in Ontario to be rocked by COVID-19. Almost half its residents finally die of the illness. (Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press)

March 19 

A lady in her 90s on the Hillsdale Terraces long-term care house in Oshawa exhibits signs of COVID-19. Nevertheless, the general public well being unit does not receive her test results until March 23, the day she dies.

As the top of March Break nears, Williams recommends 14 days of self-isolation for health-care employees who’ve travelled internationally, however doesn’t make it obligatory. The federal authorities waits till March 25 earlier than ordering a quarantine.  

March 22 

Williams asks long-term care houses to restrict the variety of places that workers are working at “wherever attainable,” in an effort to cut back the danger of employees carrying the virus from house to house. This doesn’t grow to be a compulsory coverage till a month later.

March 26 

The deaths in long-term care amenities start to mount. Two at Seven Oaks in Scarborough. Two at Pinecrest in Bobcaygeon. One resident of the Heritage Inexperienced Nursing Dwelling in Stoney Creek.

Nonetheless, the province continues to suggest towards testing everybody in long-term care houses that see outbreaks. Ontario’s capability to check for COVID-19 exhibits strains, because the variety of folks ready for lab outcomes soars above 10,000

March 27 

There are confirmed instances in not less than 16 houses in Ontario, the Globe and Mail reveals, though the federal government just isn’t offering a province-wide determine. 

The affiliate chief medical officer of well being, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, is requested why the province doesn’t order testing on all residents of long-term care houses the place outbreaks are declared. “We do not wish to expend the restricted lab sources to check all people after we already know what the reason for the outbreak is,” she replies.  

March 28 

The outbreak at Pinecrest Nursing Dwelling in Bobcaygeon is raging. Roughly half the employees are reported sick with signs of COVID-19. 

March 30 

With 9 deaths reported at Pinecrest, Ford tells the each day information briefing: “We’re placing an iron ring of safety round our seniors. We should do all the pieces we will to forestall additional unfold in these houses.” 

March 31 

More deaths and outbreaks hit houses, and Ottawa’s medical officer of well being calls the long-term care sector her “top concern.”

“We’re doing all the pieces we will to guard essentially the most weak,” Ford says in his each day information convention.  

CBC reporter Lisa Xing challenges Ford: “We have identified for a while that this can be a weak inhabitants. Why did the province not act sooner to cease the virus from spreading in long-term care houses?” 

“I simply want I had a crystal ball a month in the past, a month and a half in the past to see the place this was going,” Ford replies.  

WATCH: March 31 – Ontario Premier Doug Ford defends his authorities’s efforts to guard long-term care residents

“Why did the province not act sooner to cease the virus from spreading in long-term care houses?” CBC reporter Lisa Xing requested Ford on March 31. 1:26

April 1

Analysis by CBC Information reveals 40 people have died at long-term care and retirement houses and counts declared outbreaks in not less than 41 amenities, though the numbers of outbreaks and deaths given by provincial officers are far decrease. 

“There’s extra that we will do,” says Well being Minister Christine Elliott. “We’re very involved about outbreaks in long-term-care houses,” she tells the each day information briefing. “That is a really, very weak group of people who we have to defend, completely.” 

WATCH: April 1 – Ontario Well being Minister Christine Elliott responds to the worsening state of affairs in long-term care houses 

Ontario Well being Minister Christine Elliott acknowledged the federal government had extra work to do defending seniors in long-term care on April 1. 0:59

April 2 

“If my mother was in long-term care, I might pull her out. Now,” says Dr. Samir Sinha, a geriatrics specialist with Sinai Well being System in Toronto and a prime provincial adviser on senior care. 

In a separate interview with CBC Information, Sinha urges Ontario to check each resident and employees member in any long-term care house that discovers an outbreak, pointing to proof from the U.S. of confirmed instances amongst nursing house residents with out signs. 

April 3 

Ontario reveals modelling that forecasts as much as 15,000 deaths within the province, and elongates its checklist of non-essential companies, however declares no new measures relating to long-term care houses.  

April 6

Nearly 40 per cent of the residents of Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville, Ont. (south of Hamilton) have examined constructive, together with 22 employees. 5 residents are lifeless, and inside two weeks the death toll reaches 24.   

April 7

The province is reporting 78 deaths in long-term care and outbreaks in not less than 58 houses. In the meantime, Ontario’s each day variety of checks accomplished barely exceeds 2,500, decrease than its each day charge of testing in mid-March. 

April 8 

Williams points a new directive to long-term care houses. It requires all long-term employees to put on masks always at some stage in their shifts and will increase the frequency of screening for signs to twice a day. 

WATCH: April 8 – Premier Doug Ford says he needs testing finished at ‘each single long-term care facility’ in Ontario 

Doug Ford says his persistence has ‘run skinny’ over the unacceptably low variety of checks being finished in Ontario. 1:44

April 10 

The influence of COVID-19 on Ontario’s long-term care houses hits two grim milestones: the variety of instances amongst residents and employees surpasses 1,000 and the variety of deaths surpasses 100. These are the official numbers from Public Well being Ontario. 

Ontario’s releases new testing guidelines, which proceed to suggest towards testing all residents of long-term care houses, even when there’s an outbreak. Provincial officers inform reporters in a not-for-attribution briefing that such testing is of restricted worth.

April 12

On the Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville, south of Hamilton, 13 people are dead and greater than half the house’s residents have examined constructive for COVID-19, together with 30 employees.  

April 13 

Information emerges that 25 residents of the Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke are lifeless. 

Going through questions in regards to the province’s actions up to now, Ford insists he and his authorities “are doing completely all the pieces we presumably can” to guard long-term care residents.  “We may look backwards and level out each single little merchandise. I am certain there’s areas on this entire pandemic which can be, ‘Might’ve, ought to’ve, would’ve.’ I really feel we’re doing all the pieces we will proper now.” 

April 15 

Ford announces what he calls Ontario’s “motion plan” for long-term care. “Immediately, we’re throwing all the pieces we have at our long run care houses,” he says. “We’re mobilizing each out there useful resource.”  

The plan guarantees wider (however nonetheless not common) testing in houses and affords assist from hospital groups specializing in stopping and controlling infections. Considered one of its provisions — a ban on workers working at multiple facility  — doesn’t kick in for one more week. 

It is also been 5 weeks because the WHO declared the pandemic. Since then, in response to Ontario’s official figures: 

•162 long-term care residents have died.

•933 residents are contaminated.

•530 employees are contaminated.

April 17

Almost 2,000 residents and employees of long-term care houses have been contaminated with COVID-19, and the loss of life toll surpasses 200. A personal support worker at a house in Scarborough dies. “It is heartbreaking to listen to of those tragedies and we’re doing all the pieces we presumably can, as we have stated, to place an iron ring round these houses,” says Ford. 

April 20 

The province releases new projections modelling the unfold of infections in Ontario. Whereas officers say this wave of COVID-19 has peaked within the border neighborhood, the unfold of the virus continues to be accelerating in long-term care. The info present 367 folks have died in long-term care houses. 

April 22

Ford declares he has requested for the Canadian Forces to assist at 5 long-term care houses, which the federal authorities approves a day later.

The loss of life toll from long-term care surpasses 400. There are outbreaks in 125 houses and greater than 2,800 residents and employees have examined constructive for the virus 

April 23

Ontario updates its reporting system for COVID-19 deaths, and the official loss of life toll in long-term care surges to 516. Given all these deaths, Ford is requested if the province failed. “The system must be modified, and we’re altering the system,” he replies. “However proper now our major focus is to ensure that we defend the folks inside these long-term care houses.”

Ford’s voice quakes with emotion through the information convention. Afterward, an official confirms that Ford’s mother-in-law has examined constructive for COVID-19. She is a resident at Toronto’s West Park Lengthy-Time period Care house, the place not less than 13 folks have died. 

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