Sep 17, 2021
By Jane Brown
We’re learning hospitals have been Ontario’s second deadliest setting for COVID-19 outbreaks.
According to a new public health report, at least 860 people have died with COVID-19 in Ontario hospital outbreaks, a far larger death toll than had been previously known.
This puts Ontario hospitals second behind long term care homes and ahead of retirement homes for deadly COVID outbreaks.
Doctor Abdu Sharkawy is an infectious diseases consultant at the University Health Network and says there’s no other way to depict this other than a completely unmitigated tragedy.
He adds the death toll highlights the changes hospitals need to make to better control the spread of respiratory diseases now and in the future.
In recent months, Ontario’s public health experts have defended the province’s hospital safety protocols against criticism they have not been changed to reflect growing evidence of COVID’s airborne risk.
The province’s key guidance on protecting hospitals from the virus relies instead on familiar “droplet and contact” protections, exemplified by surgical masks, face shields and physical distancing, and mandates stricter airborne protocols, such as the exclusive use of N95 respirators and negative-pressure isolation rooms, only for specific medical procedures.