A faster, more decisive action on COVID-19 in British Columbia is one reason the province experiences care deaths much shorter than Ontario, a new study has found.
Analysis published on Wednesday in Journal of the Canadian Medical Association Less funding, more privatization and even less coordination between homes and hospitals have led to the spread of the coronavirus novel among Ontario’s most vulnerable.
One of the paper’s authors, Dr Irfan Dhalla of St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, said there was already an increase in infections as parts of Ontario were tied to the second wave.
Despite the lessons learned from the first wave of the epidemic, front-line workers say the province is not yet adequately prepared for a new influx of long-term care cases.
“Long-term care across the country has been somewhat neglected and somewhat over-funded,” Dhalla said Wednesday, although he appreciated BC for its decisive action to limit cases and deaths.
“All of these factors mean that, when the pandemic strikes, a better outcome – or a worse outcome – is more favorable in British Columbia.”
As of September 10, Ontario reported 1,817 resident deaths from COVID-19, compared to 156 deaths in BC, compared to approximately 6,000 cases among LTC residents in Ontario, compared to 466 in BC
This week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford pledged more measures to control COVID-19 in long-term care homes, with restrictions on visitors to regional hotspots from Monday.
Ford announced $ 40,540 million to help long-term care homes staff, pay for reconstructions and increase infection control.
But the Ontario Long Term Care Association, which represents home managers, says homes are emerging from the staff crisis and need more support.
Dhalla said the BC system had entered the epidemic with a number of benefits, including long-term care, better coordination between public health and hospitals, more money for long-term care, fewer shared rooms and more comprehensive inspections.
In 2018–2019, British Columbia ($ 222) had more per capita funding per day than Ontario ($ 203), researchers said. More funds were used to pay staff in both states.
Long-term care residents are more likely to live in shared rooms in Ontario (63 percent) than in BC (24 percent).
Dr. Bonnie Henry of BC acted decisively
Dhalla lauded BC Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry for his quick action to address staff and infection prevention and control, as well as his ability to use public support with clear, consistent messages.
“Bonnie Henry has received worldwide praise for her leadership, the kindness she shows from the podium, her willingness to act decisively,” Dhalla said.
See | COVID-19 outbreak returns in Ontario long-term care homes:
In contrast, the Ontario health system is in a state of flux with the merger of regional health networks and several provincial agencies into a single agency called Ontario Health.
It saw the departure of many senior leaders who had not yet been replaced and came between public health Ontario and individual budget cuts Public Health Departments.
Dhalla agreed that some Ontario areas and facilities were better than others because of the COVID-19 responses, “but that did not happen across the province.”
Residents of long-term care homes are always prone to infections, researchers say, recommending governments:
- Make sure there is clear, consistent communication.
- Respond quickly and actively.
- Ensure that disparities between nonprofit and nonprofit homes do not affect care quality.
- Move to single rooms.
- Ensure that infection prevention and control teams support LTC homes during outbreaks.
- Consider organizational structures to support integration between LTC, public health and hospitals.
Even a slight delay in introducing precautions for LTC homes may have a significant impact on the burden of COVID-19 Exponential growth, Said the authors of the study.