Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam looks at a slide projected on a screen during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam looks at a slide projected on a screen during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

COVID-19 spread shifts to seniors as outbreaks rise in long-term care homes: Tam

Country struggling as second wave of pandemic continues

Canada’s chief public health officer says the spread of COVID-19 is shifting towards seniors, adding to the mounting signs suggesting a second wave could hit just as hard as the first.

In a statement Saturday, Dr. Theresa Tam said that while the summer saw cases concentrated in the 20 to 39 age range, infection rates are now accelerating in older populations.

Reports of outbreaks in long-term care centres and retirement homes have been rising in recent weeks, but seem to be more contained than the eruption of cases that overwhelmed several facilities in April and May, said Tam.

It’s a troubling trend given the heightened health risks the virus poses to older Canadians, said Tam, warning that we’ve already seen how spread in care homes can have deadly consequences.

“We all have a shared responsibility to help protect those at highest risk,” Tam said in a statement. “When spread of COVID-19 is kept to low levels in the community this decreases the risk of exposure for older Canadians.”

READ MORE: Canadians urged to keep COVID-era Thanksgiving gatherings small, virtual

Meanwhile, some of the hardest-hit provinces are scrambling to prevent such a worst-case scenario by introducing new restrictions to rein in the surge in regional hot spots.

Ontario reported 809 new cases on Saturday, including 358 in Toronto, 123 in the Peel Region and 94 in Ottawa.

The numbers come on the first day of the province’s new measures to curb the consistent climb of cases in those areas, including closing gyms, movie theatres and casinos and suspending indoor dining at bars and restaurants.

The government also reported seven new deaths related to the virus. In total, 213 people are hospitalized in Ontario because of COVID-19; 47 people are in intensive care and 29 are on ventilators.

The picture wasn’t any prettier in Quebec, which reported another 1,097 new cases on Saturday — the sixth day out of the last seven that the province surpassed 1,000 new cases.

Quebec also reported 14 additional deaths. Hospitalizations rose by 11 to 444, and six more people were in intensive care, for a total of 73.

In response, the province was set to expand restrictions in nearly all the regions along the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City on Saturday night.

Bars, restaurant dining rooms and gyms in so-called “red zones” must be closed, sports are limited and private citizens are not allowed to gather in private homes with anyone outside their household, with few exceptions.

In Manitoba, health officials reported two more deaths from COVID-19, as well as 97 new cases.

The province said in its daily pandemic update on Saturday that two women in Winnipeg — one in her 80s and another in her 90s — had died since the last update on Friday.

Public health officials also reminded people that residents of personal care homes are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, and that any visits over the Thanksgiving weekend should be planned with caution.

Even the Atlantic bubble seems to have been perforated by the pandemic’s second wave.

There were 20 new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Saturday, bringing the province’s total number of active cases to 57.

The province’s chief medical officer of health said 12 of the new cases are in the Moncton region and seven are in the Campbellton region. Both regions remain in the “orange” level of restrictions under the province’s COVID-19 plan.

Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia each reported three new cases on Saturday.

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusHealthcareSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

(File photo)
After several years in limbo, Parkland Manor to be torn down

Rimoka Housing Foundation has received funding and approval for the demolition

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton, Friday, March 20, 2020. Hinshaw says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta long-term care residents remain priority in looming slowdown of COVID vaccine

There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Calgary flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

(Photo submitted)
Community Futures brings back Social Media Challenge for 2021

This time the challenge is for non-profits and community groups

Most Read