The number of victims of the coronavirus virus is increasing in Canadian nursing homes
April 7, 2020
Throughout Canada, care facilities for seniors were destroyed by the deadly spread of COVID-19. More than 600 nursing homes and nursing homes nationwide have reported a rapid increase in infections and deaths, with Quebec and Ontario in Central Canada, and the hardest-hit west coast province of British Columbia.
Major failures at all levels of government to prepare for this predictable and predictable virus pandemic, their criminal inability to fight the virus, and decades of damage to the public health service system have left care home facilities that are very vulnerable to COVID-19, and allow the virus to spread like wildfire. To this must be added the fact that large parcels of elderly care have been privatized, resulting in a race to the bottom in working conditions, and the running of facilities on a tight budget so as to increase company profits.
In Ontario, at least 40 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19, and nearly 80 nursing homes across the province have reported infection. At the Seven Oaks Nursing Home in Toronto, eight residents have died, and 69 residents and staff have been registered as suspected cases of coronavirus. At Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, fourteen residents were killed. “It’s a war zone. I have never seen anything like it in breastfeeding for years,” Sarah Gardiner, a nurse at Pinecrest, told local media. “They are very scared … and I have nothing to dispel that fear for them.”
The Lynn Valley Treatment Center in North Vancouver, British Columbia – the site of the initial outbreak in the province – has recorded 51 infected residents, 26 infected staff, and 15 deaths. Until now, at least 21 BC. Senior care homes that are mostly located in the Vancouver metro area have reported cases. In total, the province has recorded 39 deaths related to COVID-19, most of which occurred in nursing homes for seniors.
The situation is even worse in Quebec, where, as of last week, nearly a quarter of the province’s 2,200 senior homes and long-term care facilities have reported at least one infection.
The mortality rate among parents of COVID-19 is estimated to be around 15 percent, far higher than the general population. Vulnerability to existing diseases and health problems, in addition to living arrangements and temporary labor exposure, have made them highly vulnerable to the spread of the deadly virus.
Care workers are also very vulnerable, even if they are considered part of the young and healthy age group. Because of low wages and irregular work arrangements, they are often forced to work in a number of nursing homes, increasing the likelihood that illness will spread. In addition, the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks and gloves, is even more prominent in the care sector than in hospitals, where personal protective equipment has been heavily rationed. Care workers are thus more likely to be infected and have a difficult time to be tested and treated as another part of the worker.
Under dire conditions, such as prisons where a deadly plague has placed many seniors under strict quarantine orders, people who are confused and afraid are forced to isolate themselves indefinitely without contact with friends and family. Draconian restrictions on testing prevent them from knowing who is infected or not, including themselves. In many cases, facility managers fail to inform family members and residents that an outbreak has occurred.
The horrific outbreak of the virus is exacerbated by the lack of care providers to help with the daily basic needs of elderly people in nursing homes – such as feeding and bathing – the tragic results of decades of wages and service cuts, and corporatization in the public health service system. The absence of workers from illness and fear of infection from unsafe working conditions only exacerbates the shortage.
The announcement by Ontario’s right-wing Prime Minister Doug Ford that his government created an “iron ring” of protection among the elderly was a terrible deception. His government’s pathetic commitment of $ 243 million to protect workers and residents of long-term care facilities does not even begin to discuss company-friendly “efficiency” policies that have destroyed the provincial health system, sharply reduced the weekly hours of personal support workers and therapists in nursing homes, and in embarrassing steps, even reducing the minimum number of baths allowed for occupants.
After announcing that elderly health and safety at home “is a matter of life and death,” the hard Quebec Prime Minister, François Legault, pledged $ 133 million in emergency assistance, while the CAQ (Coalition Avenir Québec) of the government’s small business clearly demanded more concessions further than 550,000 provincial nurses and other public sector workers who are currently at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis.
Only last week, and after many deaths in nursing homes in British Columbia, did the New Democratic-supported provincial government of Green bother to include daily testing for home care workers in the COVID-19 “action plan”. Nursing workers who tested negative for the virus will now be assigned to only one care facility, a measure that should have been taken years ago after the 2002-03 SARS crisis when the relationship between mortality in nursing home care workers and the spread of the disease was first known.
The federal government’s response is no less shambolic. While offering $ 3 billion in funding for the health care system, which will largely be directed through nonprofit companies, the Liberal government Justin Trudeau, with unanimous support from conservative “opposition”, NDP, the Quebecois Block, and Greens, is channeling more than $ 650 billion with lightning speed into bank pockets and big business.
The slaughter of COVID-19 which has exploded in a nursing home underscores the urgent need for careful testing, systematic contact tracking and the provision of ventilators and urgent personal protection equipment for all medical personnel. However, as is the case in North America and Europe, this critical resource is not available.
The ignorance of the ruling elite over the fate of nursing home residents and low-paid workers is further emphasized by their despicable efforts to transfer responsibility for mass death to the shoulders of the general population. Some relatives of elderly residents in nursing homes received letters from service providers stating that “there was no benefit” for their loved ones to be hospitalized with COVID-19. At Pinecrest Nursing Home, the medical director sends an email correspondence that prepares family members for a destructive choice whether to allow their loved ones to use a ventilator. “A patient in a frail nursing home who uses a ventilator,” the letter reads, “is very likely to suffer a lot, and may not survive … I ask all of you to think hard about what will be in the best interests of your loved ones. “
This campaign to effectively leave parents to die is being supported by the ruling class, and, unfortunately it must be noted, by many medical institutions throughout the country. In Globe and Mail“Canadian newspaper record”, a comment entitled “Corona virus is an opportunity to have the end of life conversation we need,” a Gordon Rubenfeld, a medical professor at the University of Toronto, believes, “(T) he coronavirus is an opportunity to talk with your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and your loved ones with chronic illnesses about life support. Because if you don’t talk to them about this now, you might have to have a much more difficult conversation with me later. “
Almost every province has formed a committee called “medical ethics” to determine who should be denied treatment and effectively left dead, when the supply of ventilators, ICU beds, and other equipment is completely inadequate.
The company’s media promotes this “medical ethics” committee as a rational way to allocate few resources and reduce psychological pressure for frontline health workers. When it comes to the actions of banks and big business, now marching to enjoy the prosperity of the country while the health and care sector lacks resources, the media, on the other hand, has no room for ethical discussion – underlining that “morality” is entirely determined by the interests of the mercenary class.
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