A person wearing protective equipment looks out of a window at the Herron seniors residence Monday April 13, 2020 in Dorval near Montreal’s Trudeau airport. Thirty-one residents are confirmed to have died in the past month.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

More older Canadians die as COVID-19 toll passes 800; economy could shrink 6.2%

Ninety per cent of the deaths so far have been among those aged 60 and above

COVID-19’s grim march through many of the country’s nursing homes left more residents dead on Tuesday as the facilities fought desperately to stem the lethal spread of a virus that has prompted crushing restrictions on normal personal and commercial activity.

In all, Canada was closing in on 26,000 confirmed and presumptive cases of coronavirus disease, more than 800 of them fatal.

The virus has hit older adults disproportionately hard, with more than 90 per cent of the deaths among those aged 60 and above.

Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s chief public health officer, said outbreaks in long-term care homes were the most pressing epidemic problem. More than half the deaths in the country have occurred in such homes.

“These stories are horrifying,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, even as he noted long-term care was a provincial responsibility. “We know we need to do more.”

The virus has hit Quebec the hardest among provinces, both in terms of cases and deaths. About 30 long-term care facilities had more than 15 per cent of residents infected, the province said.

Premier Francois Legault said the biggest problem was the province’s understaffed long-term care centres as he appealed for help from any health-care workers. In an effort to deal with the onslaught, a Montreal hospital said it would set up a special unit. Starting next week, the unit aims to care for up to 25 of the sickest patients from long-term care homes.

Ontario, which was set to extend its state of emergency for another four weeks, reported 43 new deaths on Tuesday for a total of 334. One home in Toronto attributed nine more deaths to the virus, bringing to 25 the number of fatal infections. The Eatonville Care Centre also said it had 49 confirmed cases.

READ MORE: Canada mirrors B.C., giving travellers choice of self-made quarantine plans or hotel stay

Similarly, two residents of a care home in British Columbia tested positive just days after four staff members were diagnosed with the respiratory illness. The facility is among 20 long-term care and assisted-living homes in B.C. to be afflicted.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, issued an order banning personal-care home staff from working at multiple locations except in ”exceptional circumstances.”

In Ottawa, Trudeau announced that everyone returning from abroad would have to come up with a “credible” isolation plan or spend their mandatory 14-day quarantine period in a hotel.

While acknowledging Canadians were “very interested” to know when the current anti-COVID restrictions might lift, Trudeau said vigilance remained the watchword and no immediate changes were planned. “The reality is that it’s going to be weeks still,” Trudeau said. “We’re going to have to do it in phases.”

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border restrictions won’t be lifted any time soon, says Trudeau

Trudeau promised more money for students and essential workers as well as support for those struggling with the payment of commercial rents. He also announced $130 million to help northern communities. Part of the money is to support airlines that serve the North and to defray the steep cost of food and hygiene products.

Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer called on all federal parties to strike a deal for Parliament to meet safely. Accountability, the Conservative leader said, was essential even though he said he supported Liberal government efforts to cushion COVID-19’s economic blow by spending more than $100 billion in relief.

Two emergency sittings in recent weeks occurred with only the bare minimum of legislators in the House of Commons and Senate, but normal parliamentary business was scheduled to resume next week.

Another indication of just how devastating anti-pandemic measures have been on the economic front came from the International Monetary Fund, whose latest forecast predicted Canada’s economy would shrink by 6.2 per cent this year. That is more than double the global retraction, which would be the worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the IMF said.

READ MORE: Air Canada and others suspend flights until June as sector slammed by COVID-19

-With files from Canadian Press reporters across the country.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronaviruseconomy

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

Just Posted

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

RDEK urges residents to be prepared for emergencies including flooding, wildfire

The East Kootenay region has been placed on a high streamflow advisory

Hosmer Fire Department sends thank you to anonymous gift donor

A handmade wooden plaque was left in front of the Hosmer firehall on May 28

Castle Project seeking public input

The comment period surrounding the expansion closes on June 23

City seeks public input on new cannabis retail license

The application must first gather approval from city council before being approved by the province

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Nature Conservancy takes in more lands near Canal Flats

Badgers, bears and birds to benefit from bolstering bunchgrass conservation in Rocky Mountain Trench

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Most Read