Since the beginning of October, the profile of people who succumb to COVID-19 has started to change in Quebec. While during the first wave, the vast majority of deaths were observed in CHSLDs, today more than half of the people who succumb to the disease are at home.
According to the Prime Minister, François Legault, this change in statistics reflects above all the “great improvement” in the situation in CHSLDs. But groups of caregivers and users of the network remain worried. “We wonder if people who stay at home receive the necessary care,” says Marc Rochefort, president of the Provincial Regroupement of Users’ Committees.
The number of daily deaths linked to COVID-19 continues to affect overwhelmingly people aged 70 and over in the province. Quebec reported 1,030 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths on Thursday. However, the situation does not compare to the first wave, when up to 153 people died on the same day.
Since the beginning of October, 41% of the 326 deaths linked to COVID-19 have been observed at home, 34% in CHSLDs, 19% in private residences for seniors and 6% in intermediate resources. During the first wave, two-thirds of the deaths were observed in CHSLDs.
At a press conference, Prime Minister Legault stressed that “the big difference between this fall and then this spring is that there are much fewer deaths in CHSLDs”. Even if the number of deaths has gradually increased since September, Mr. Legault indicates that “when we look at the ratio, currently, there are fewer deaths per case if we make a proportion”.
Fewer places in CHSLDs?
Following the many deaths in CHSLDs during the first wave, CHSLDs suspended the admissions of new residents. Some took the opportunity to transform their rooms for two people into single rooms. Admissions have since resumed, but at varying speeds depending on the region.
Director General of the Regroupement des aidants naturel du Québec (RANQ), Mélanie Perroux explains that with the hecatomb that occurred during the first wave in CHSLDs, many families are now reluctant to entrust them with a loved one. “Caregivers are not reassured. They keep their loved ones at home. But they are running out, ”she said. Mr. Rochefort also notes this phenomenon.
Many people who were supposed to arrive in CHSLDs do not arrive. But the families are running out of steam. Because home help is not increasing.
Marc Rochefort, President of the Provincial Regrouping of Users’ Committees
“We still hear about the elderly who have difficulty receiving care,” said for his part the president of the Council for the protection of the sick, Paul Brunet.
Mr. Rochefort also notes that in the field, entire floors of certain CHSLDs are currently being transformed to accommodate other types of clienteles. For example, one floor of the CHSLD Champlain in Verdun will accommodate people in need of intensive rehabilitation. “We keep on eliminating CHSLD places,” said Mr. Rochefort.
According to him, this situation is incomprehensible, while more than 3,000 people are waiting for an accommodation place in CHSLDs in Quebec, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Services. “During this time, the private sector is developing,” says Mr. Rochefort.
A study released Thursday evening by Louise Boivin, researcher from the University of Quebec in Outaouais, shows that long-term accommodation for seniors is mainly in the hands of private developers in Quebec. According to the analysis, 32,061 places of accommodation for the elderly offering assistance, support or care services are currently managed by private promoters, against 31,223 places in the public network.
The study of Mme Boivin also reveals that the senior housing sector is “dominated by large groups”. “These are companies that follow a logic of profits other than the logic of care. It challenges us. Especially with the pandemic which has highlighted the complexity of care in residential homes for the elderly ”, explains Mme Boivin.
25 more dead, many in Quebec
Quebec also reported Thursday 25 additional deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the toll to 6,214 since the start of the pandemic. It is in Quebec that we deplore it the most. The Capitale-Nationale region reports 9 more deaths. In the neighboring region, Chaudière-Appalaches, there are 2. The Gaspé Peninsula also has 2 more.
In the metropolitan area, Montreal records 5 additional deaths; Montérégie, 3; the Laurentians, 2; and Laval, 1.
Other regions did not report any additional deaths on Thursday.
In addition to the 25 deaths, Quebec reported Thursday of 1,030 new confirmed cases. The province is thus still on a plateau of a thousand cases per day, although a slight downward trend is being felt.
Moreover, the number of hospitalizations has been on a downward trend for a week. As of Thursday, 509 people were in the hospital, 17 fewer than the day before. The decline is particularly marked in intensive care. There are now 78 people there, 11 less than the day before.
A manager relieved of her duties in Montérégie
The manager who had been appointed responsible for the CHSLD Sainte-Croix in Marieville was relieved of her duties, confirmed Thursday morning the CEO of the CISSS de la Montérégie-Center, Richard Deschamps. The facility is grappling with a major outbreak, as 79 seniors and 73 employees have been infected since the end of September; 25 residents also died. Among the factors that contributed to the outbreak at CHSLD Sainte-Croix, a breakage occurred in the laboratory analyzing the samples from the screening tests in the week of September 22. The breakage persisted for four days and resulted in delays in analyzes. A government shock team was dispatched to the scene last week. An internal investigation was launched. – With the collaboration of Tommy Chouinard, Press