OTTAWA – COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care (LTC) homes in Kapuskasing and Hearst are a heart-breaking reminder that the North is not impervious to the pandemic, according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes.
“I’m devastated to learn of the recent deaths at Extendicare Kapuskasing,” said MP Hughes, in a release. “I extend my condolences to the families and loved ones of these individuals.”
MP Hughes notes the sense that the pandemic was more of a concern for other places has been proven wrong and says there was little done to strengthen LTC facilities since the first wave showed how vulnerable congregate living settings are to the virus.
“I feel for the health care professionals and staff in these homes who work so hard to keep residents safe and my heart goes out to the residents and families,” said MP Hughes. “Despite the terrible experience in these settings during the first wave, little was done to shore up LTCs for the second wave that we knew was coming.”
MP Hughes thinks the NDP proposal to impose national standards on LTC homes is likely the quickest way to ensure residents are protected.
“There are many suggestions on the table to address the deficiencies in some homes, but national standards would help set a baseline for care,” said MP Hughes. “People trust that when their loved ones must move to LTC homes they will be in a safe environment. It is sad to see those hopes and the efforts of many professionals who work in these places undermined by government inaction to a well-understood problem.”
MP Hughes also believes that delays with Canada’s vaccine deliveries is contributing to the problem.
“Last week Canada received no shipments from Pfizer and future shipments have been reduced,” said MP Hughes. “Now, Moderna is cutting back their deliveries to Canada. We are truly paying the price for losing the ability to produce vaccines in Canada. Worse, we didn’t even negotiate the ability to do so if we wanted to build a production line.”