A giant screen outside the Scotiabank Arena is lit blue with words of thanks to honour front line workers fighting against COVID-19 during the 2020 World Health Day in Toronto, Canada, April 7, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
TORONTO, April 13 (Xinhua) -- The Canadian government has urged long-term care homes to control COVID-19, as nearly half of the country's coronavirus deaths are linked to them.
"Of the cases where we have the data on whether someone was in a long-term care facility or seniors' residence, we know that close to half of the deaths that we're tracking are linked to long-term care facilities," Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said at a press conference in Ottawa on Monday afternoon.
Canada has reported more than 25,500 COVID-19 cases, including 735 deaths, as of Monday afternoon, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Tam said senior residents of long-term care homes are vulnerable to infections due to their communal living spaces, shared health care providers, exposure to external visitors, and transfers from other health care facilities.
"Unfortunately, given the outbreaks in long-term care facilities, we will expect to see more reported deaths as the days go on," Tam said.
The government has released new, stricter interim infection prevention and control guidance for long-term care homes nationwide.
The guidance includes limitations for visitors and increased screening for workers and residents. It is also applied to retirement residences and other seniors' facilities.