92.2 per cent of resident and staff cases occurred in just 10 per cent of Ontario's retirement homes, says report
Among the 770 retirement homes in Ontario licensed under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010, 22.3 per cent experienced one or more COVID-19 outbreaks, involving 1.9 per cent residents and 1.5 per cent staff from March 1 to Sept. 24, 2020, according to a new report.
And 92.2 per cent of resident and staff cases occurred in just 10 per cent of Ontario's retirement homes, the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) noted in the report.
“We found that the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in retirement homes is connected to larger resident capacity, co-location with a long-term care facility, large corporate-owned chains, a higher availability of services onsite and increases in regional COVID-19 incidence,” said Andrew Costa, associate professor and Schlegel Chair in Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University. “The goal of this research is to support the identification of risk factors for COVID-19 outbreaks in retirement homes at both a provincial and regional level.”
Other findings include:
- There was a strong association between retirement home outbreaks and the 14-day rolling incidence of COVID-19 in the surrounding public health region.
- Retirement homes with a capacity greater than 100 residents had more than a 5-fold increase in risk of COVID-19 outbreak.
- Retirement homes that offered nine or more services had nearly a 2-fold increase in risk for a COVID-19 outbreak.
- Retirement homes co-located with a long-term care facility experienced nearly a 2-fold increase in risk for a COVID-19 outbreak.
“The heavy impact that seniors in particular have endured as part of the COVID-19 pandemic is devastating and upsetting for all Ontarians,” says Jay O'Neill, Registrar and CEO at RHRA. “COVID-19 has amplified many issues within retirement homes, and at the RHRA, we are working tirelessly to address the needs of residents.”
In November, Ontario began using nearly 1.3 million rapid tests to screen staff in long-term care homes and select workplaces to quickly identify and manage outbreaks and stop the spread of COVID-19.
Ontario also announced $1.75 billion in funding over five years to add new beds in long-term care homes while also updating design standards for all existing facilities and the ones that will be built in the future to include air conditioning.
Previously, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) released a report that compiled 35 reports about the troubles in the province’s long-term care system, and the recommendations that different groups have made since 1999.