A nurse in protective gear greets a woman entering the Seven Oaks Long-Term Care Home in Scarborough, Ontario last week. Sixteen deaths at the home have now been linked to COVID-19. Four other deaths are being investigated. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press) 

COVID-19 is not letting up its attacks on homes for the elderly

There is no doubt that COVID-19 is preying on seniors around the world and Canada is no exception.

“My big worry at this time is about seniors’ residences,” Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters Wednesday at his daily pandemic briefing. 

“Out of 2,200 residences, we have 519 which have at least one case. We are going to be even stricter on the comings and goings at each residence.

“There must be no visits in the residences. It’s a question of life and death.”

Residents at the EVA seniors’ home in Lavaltrie, Que., try to catch some sun on their balconies. More than 500 long-term care institutions have reported cases of COVID-19 in Quebec. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

As of Thursday morning, 5,518 confirmed cases of COVID‑19, including 36 deaths, have been reported in Quebec.

As of Wednesday, four of the deaths were at nursing homes.

Legault is not alone in his fears.

Canadians–from politicians to health professionals to children and grandchildren–continue to grapple with the the devastating attack the virus is laying on seniors.

The Globe and Mail reports that COVID-19 is now present in least 600 nursing and retirement homes across Canada, including hundreds in Quebec.

Kelly Grant, Les Perreaux and Jill Mahoney report that “COVID-19 has caused more devastation in seniors’ homes than anywhere else in the country.”

According to a Globe and Mail tally done after contacting health authorities across the country, at least 75 residents of the facilities have died from COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the CBC’s Mike Crowley reported that COVID-19 had killed at least 41 people in Ontario and 107 countrywide, according to CBC’s own tracking of coronavirus data.

And there’s been no letup.

Crowley reports that the death toll jumped by 11 over the course of Wednesday,


They included six people at the Seven Oaks Long-Term Care Home (above) in Scarborough, bringing the total there to eight persons.

Elsewhere, two more persons died at the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, where 17 people with links to the facility have now died in the past week. 

Seventeen persons connected to the Pinecrest Nursing Home, in Bobcaygeon, Ont., have now died of COVID-19 complications. (Chris Glover/CBC)

Crowley writes that his figures are based on information gathered by CBC News directly from Ontario’s 34 local public health units. 

The public health units also say at least 41 facilities for seniors in the province are currently experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19, with an outbreak defined as one lab-confirmed positive test among a resident or staff member.  

On Thursday, the number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Canada passed 10,000.

One hundred thirty-four persons have died.

And lest anyone forget, the first person to die from COVID-19 in Canada was a resident of long-term care home, in North Vancouver.

On March 8.

Less than a month ago.

With files from CBC News (Mike Crowley), The Canadian Press


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