Why do long-term care homes have more coronavirus outbreaks than hospitals?

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Despite both being health-care facilities that care for the vulnerable and often have patients in close quarters, hospitals have not seen nearly as many COVID-19 outbreaks as long-term care centres.

The stark difference between conditions in Canadian hospitals and the environment in nursing homes illustrates how one arena in health care is prioritized while another is neglected, experts told Global News.

“We spend a lot of money on our acute care hospitals that are beautiful. They’re also well-designed and really well-run and well-managed. And they spend a lot of money on infection control and keeping people safe,” said Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.

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“That is one thing we’re not doing, and have not done very well with long-term care homes,” he said.

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In Ontario, there have been a total of 84 outbreaks at hospitals while there have been 298 at long-term care homes ⁠— at least three times more. Currently, there are 50 ongoing outbreaks at hospitals in the province and 199 in long-term care as of May 26.



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