COVID-19: Longterm care facility deaths expected to rise even as cases slow, Dr. Tam says

Many of the deaths will come from longterm care facilities

Canadians looking at the number of COVID-19 deaths in the country will continue to see that figure rise, Dr. Theresa Tam said Monday (April 13) during a near-daily federal update on the pandemic.

“I expect the case fatality rate to increase,” the country’s chief medical officer said, even as the “day-to-day increase in the number of cases has slowed down.”

As of Monday morning, Tam said there are 24,804 cases and 734 deaths; a fatality rate of just under three per cent, based on confirmed cases. Of the more than 428,000 people tested, about 5.7 per cent have been positive for the virus. A report released by the Public Health Agency of Canada found that if all containment measures are taken, up to 22,000 could still die.

Many of the deaths will come from longterm care facilities, Tam said, even as the feds unveiled new guidelines. They include limiting or completely banning visitors, screening visitors and staff for infections, increasing the use of personal protective equipment and limiting staff to just one facility.

B.C. officials have said shifting the province’s 20,000 care aides from multiple part-time jobs to working in a single facility to reduce infection risk will cost $10 million per month.

Tam said people over 70 are most at risk of severe symptoms or death as a result of COVID-19 and around half of Canada’s deaths are connected to longterm care facilities.

“We cannot prevent every death but we must prevent every death we can,” Tam said, as the country works towards a “new normal when we reach low levels of transmission.”

READ MORE: Stabilizing B.C. care home staffing to cost $10 million a month

READ MORE: Controls can keep Canadian COVID-19 deaths under 22,000, health agency says

– With files from Tom Fletcher, Black Press Media


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