Quebec’s top doctor defends COVID-19 response to long-term care death investigation

Content of the article

MONTREAL – Quebec’s director of public health said during a coroner’s inquest on Thursday that he did not recall whether he had recommended preventing staff in long-term care homes from working in multiple facilities for elderly people at the start of the pandemic.

Dr Horacio Arruda told the inquest he should check whether he had given formal written advice on the risks associated with workers moving from one establishment to another. The movement of staff between long-term care homes in the spring of 2020 is considered one of the reasons for the high number of COVID-19 outbreaks and the high number of deaths among vulnerable Quebec seniors.

Advertising

Content of the article

“We had discussions that this was a risk factor,” he said. “Anyone who moves from one place to another could increase the risk of infection.”

Arruda was the last to testify at the inquest led by Coroner Gehane Kamel into deaths in long-term care homes in Quebec during the first wave of the pandemic. About 4,000 people died from COVID-19 at these facilities in the spring of 2020.

The doctor defended his decision during the first wave of the pandemic to ban visits by caregivers, which left many residents alone to die of COVID-19, being able to say goodbye to their families only by video.

He said there was no vaccine or effective treatment for the novel coronavirus at the time. He added that the only “weapon” public health had to prevent transmission was to reduce contact inside struggling long-term care homes.

Advertising

Content of the article

Staff had access to personal protective equipment, Arruda said, but added that he was concerned that caregivers would not know how to use it properly.

“It was really to protect them as to protect the establishment,” he told the inquiry into his decision to ban caregivers’ visits.

At one point during Arruda’s testimony, Kamel said she was troubled the Department of Health did not have pandemic preparedness plans in place. Arruda responded that the COVID-19 pandemic was historic and hit the province at a time when its healthcare system was facing an unprecedented labor shortage.

“I found myself in a pandemic like the Spanish flu, in terms of speed, impact, etc., in a system that was already fragile,” he said.

Arruda said the province faced a shortage of masks and testing kits at the start of the pandemic, adding that personal protective equipment was a priority for places where it would have the most impact.

Advertising

Content of the article

When asked why some workers who brought their own masks were told to stop wearing them, Arruda said that directive did not come from public health authorities. Arruda, however, said some individual facilities may have banned workers from wearing masks they brought from home.

Arruda’s testimony is to continue Monday morning.

Earlier Thursday, Dr Richard Masse, Arruda’s strategic medical adviser, told the inquiry that the province had struggled to obtain personal protective equipment during the early days of the pandemic when there was a “Fierce battle” for things like masks and tests.

Even if the authorities had enough protective equipment, it is not clear whether they would have known the best ways to use it, he told the inquiry. Until the end of March 2020, the virus was believed to be spread mainly through people with symptoms.

Advertising

Content of the article

“There were people who said ‘we believe it is transmitted by asymptomatic people’, but there was no consensus,” he said, adding that neither the United States authorities nor the World Health Organization have recognized asymptomatic spread as an important mode of transmission. .

Public health officials, he said, had no idea how quickly the virus was spreading in long-term care facilities, including the Herron Residence in Montreal, a private center where 47 people died.

“It was a shock to see that there were epidemics of this magnitude so quickly,” Masse said.

Meanwhile, Quebec on Thursday reported 663 new cases of COVID-19 and four other deaths attributed to the new coronavirus.

Health officials said COVID-19-related hospitalizations fell five from the previous day to 215, and 42 people were in intensive care, down from three.

The Quebec public health institute said 90.8 percent of residents aged 12 and older received at least one dose of the vaccine and 88.3 percent were considered to be adequately vaccinated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 11, 2021.

——

This story was produced with the financial assistance of Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Advertising

  1. UPDATE: Best Black Friday Deals in Canada 2021

    Your go-to source for all the best Black Friday deals: tech, toys, fashion, mattresses, beauty, wellness, travel and more

    Prepare for the Black Friday sales.  Coming soon.
  2. Singles Day in 2021 in Canada

    Holidays, which are a big deal elsewhere, are becoming a thing here as well.

    Singles Day is definitely a thing in other parts of the world.  And some say it's going to turn into a big shopping spree in Canada.
  3. Advertising

  4. Beauty Bar: L’Oréal Professionnel Limited Edition Barbie SteamPod 3.0

    The latest version of L’Oréal Professionnel’s Steampod straightener sees the beauty brand teaming up with Barbie.

    L'Oreal Professional Limited Edition Barbie SteamPod 3.0.
  5. Style File: All Inflated

    If you’re looking for a new option this cold season, we’ve rounded up four trendy finds that are sure to boost your cool factor, while keeping you out of the cold.

    Made from 100% recycled materials, this Aleta long puffer from the Canadian brand Norden goes one step further by being both Peta and B Corp certified.
  6. Style Q&A: Vancouver Kingdom Jewelry Brand Moves to Granville Street

    “Our community is incredibly unique and teeming with talented artisans around the world, with whom we collaborate and support their efforts and charitable causes.” – Natasha Peck

    Natasha Peck is the co-founder of Vancouver-based Kingdom Jewelry brand.

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour of moderation before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread that you follow, or if a user that you follow comments. Check out our community guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Source link

About Geraldine Higgins

Check Also

Why can’t Japan assess 99% of the 1,325 deaths from COVID vaccinations?

A document from the expert committee of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare showing …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *