Unvaccinated workers fuel concerns over surge in COVID-19 cases at care homes

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The recent increase in Delta variant-fueled COVID-19 outbreaks in senior citizens’ homes across Canada is raising concerns that unvaccinated health care workers are contributing to the spread of the virus.

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Medical experts say the growing number of long-term care and assisted living facilities battling breakthrough infections among vaccinated seniors underscores the urgency of putting a needle in every health care worker’s hand.

As provinces come to grips with the highly permeable delta variant, experts say anything less than national, mandatory vaccination policies put vulnerable elderly people in senior citizens’ homes at risk of catching the virus from the individuals responsible for their care. .

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Only three provinces – British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec – are making immunizations a condition of employment for health care workers, meaning those who haven’t been immunized against COVID-19 as of October can be suspended without pay Will go

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Other provinces with high rates of community transmission, including Saskatchewan and Ontario, are offering health care workers the option of either getting vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19.

Long-term care facilities in Canada have borne the brunt of the pandemic. In Ontario, 3,791 people died during the first three waves, many of them in virus-stricken, vulnerable homes alone. Another 728 people lost their lives at the Alberta care home.

Canadian Medical Association president Catherine Smart said political leaders need to move beyond a narrative of personal choice on vaccination, because that stand has consequences for everyone in society.

“We feel really strongly that people have a right to expect safety, and this is the only way to ensure that all [health care] Workers vaccinated against COVID-19,” Dr. Smart said in an interview. “It’s not fair to think that you could be putting the people you care for who are at risk for something this deadly.”

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Hillsdale Estates, a 300-bed long-term care home in Oshawa, east of Toronto, announced an outbreak on August 26, after a…

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