COVID outbreaks at nursing homes in the London area hit the pandemic hard

The highly contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant is taking a heavy toll on London-based care and nursing homes, with more than two dozen outbreaks affecting residents and staff.

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The highly contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant is taking a heavy toll on London-based care and nursing homes, with more than two dozen outbreaks affecting residents and staff.

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Across London and Middlesex County, there are 25 outbreaks of long-term care or nursing homes, the largest number since the pandemic began. It comes as Omicron whips through the region, causing cases to rise, putting healthcare professionals on the sidelines and overwhelming testing and tracking capabilities.

Outbreaks have been reported in 11 nursing homes or nursing homes in the area since January 1st. Although the number of cases is increasing in these facilities and across the city, the deaths have not seen the same increase. The last local COVID death was reported on December 30th.

“It does not serve anyone’s interests to say just because it is not so deadly, it will not have the kind of impact where it will destroy our health system. We are already there and we see it,” said Peter Bergmanis of the London Health Coalition , an advocacy group.

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“We are still on the same lethal track. We probably have the best vaccinations in any sector of our community in the long term care and look at it, it is growing exponentially. We have the best fully vaccinated staff and it is growing among them nonetheless. . ”

The number of COVID patients in the London Health Sciences Center’s intensive care unit more than doubled to 14 at the end of the day on Friday, up from six on Thursday. It is still a long way from the peak of last May, when the LHSC took care of 99 patients with the virus, including more than 40 in the intensive care unit, as the hospital received COVID patients from across the region.

About 438 hospital staff tested positive for COVID on Friday, a sharp increase from the 350 reported a day earlier. The hospital reported 54 staff cases on 23 December.

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All non-emergency operations have been ordered canceled by the province in an attempt to preserve the hospital capacity for COVID cases.

Omicron has produced rapid, huge increases in case numbers, a target that is now likely to be greatly underreported due to scaled-down testing. Middlesex-London saw 412 new cases on Friday. The same picture is unfolding across the region with outbreaks of hospitals and long-term care homes and health care workers who are ill or forced to isolate.

“We are already facing the legendary collapse of staff,” Bergmanis said.

“We are entering a third (calendar) year (with COVID) and the tragedy is unfolding with undiminished force. We can not find any central management, they are willing to risk the victims and hope in some way “Vaccine enhancements will change that.”

Many long-term care residents have already received a third booster dose of COVID vaccine.

But that will not keep Omicron in check, warned Bergmanis, whose group is keeping a close eye on ICU numbers and fears for the health care system as cases rise.

“I do not think that image is really stuck in the minds of the public right now because they do not see massive death rates,” he said. “They can not see that we are on a thread here.”

mstacey@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/MeganatLFPress

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