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

Katrine Conroy has won for the fifth time in the Kootenay West riding. Photo: Submitted
Katrine Conroy ready to tackle challenges after election

Conroy won the Kootenay West riding for the fifth time

Logan Terness made 31 saves to backstop the Trail Smoke Eaters to a 4-2 victory over the Cranbrook Bucks on Saturday at the Cominco Arena. Jim Bailey photo.
Trail Smoke Eaters double up Bucks, take Game 3 of Kootenay Cup

The Trail Smoke Eaters Chase Dafoe scored the game winner in a 4-2 victory over Cranbrook Saturday

Katrine Conroy
Katrine Conroy declared winner in Kootenay West

Preliminary results put NDP candidate firmly in the lead.

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since classes resumed back in September

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

Most Read