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

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

Terry Miller won the Rossland byelection on Saturday. Photo: Terry Miller
Rossland voters select Terry Miller as new councillor

City of Rossland releases results of advance voting and final voting day of council byelection

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

This picture of Taghum resident Marc Savard was taken in February when he first spoke to the Nelson Star and little was known about the virus that had shut him out of his job in Wuhan, China. Photo: Tyler Harper
VIDEO: Once an outlier, Nelson man’s COVID-19 experience now typical

Savard was living in Wuhan, China, when the pandemic began

Communities like Nakusp are grappling with the challenge of hooking high-speed internet up at individual homes. File photo
‘Last mile’ debate a Gordian knot in Slocan Valley’s fibre-optic cable plans

How do you bring high-speed internet not just to communities, but individual homes?

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

2020
Urban wildlife Part VI: The East Kootenay birds of autumn

The work of local photographers printed in the pages of the East Kootenay Advertiser throughout 2020. Part VI.

Most Read