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Canada's top doctor calls virus' impact on seniors' 'nothing short of a national tragedy'

Last Updated May 10, 2020 at 10:10 am PDT

FILE - Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, April 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Summary

Seniors have accounted for more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 deaths seen across Canada

Top Doctor, Theresa Tam says more needs to be done to protect seniors

Medical experts are calling on the federal government to step in and also build more modern facilities

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Experts say crowding, shared rooms and outdated facilities have only made the virus worse for Canada’s most vulnerable living in long-term care homes.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam agrees more needs to be done to protect the older population who have been heavily impacted by the virus.

“If we are willing to give what it takes to address these weaknesses, and to provide better support to poorly compensated workers, we stand a better chance of maintaining control of the virus,” she says.

Tam calls the situation in Canada’s long term care homes a “national crisis” as residents account for 80 per cent of the country’s COVID-19 related fatalities.

“Each loss is one too many. But the scale and impact on our seniors, as a whole is nothing short of a national tragedy,” she says.

Tam has acknowledged more needs to be done to protect seniors.

“We will be living with COVID-19 for some time. If we make it a priority to look after the most vulnerable in our society, we can change the outcome of this pandemic.”

Other Canadian medical experts are calling on the federal government to step in to not only fix the situation but also to build more modern facilities outdated buildings. They are saying older facilities that are often crowded, have narrow hallways and shared spaces like showers and bathrooms make prevention and infection control nearly impossible.