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COVID-19 excess mortality among long-term care residents in Ontario, Canada

Akhtar-Danesh N, Baumann A, Crea-Arsenio M, Antonipillai V. PLoS One. 2022; 17(1):e0262807. Epub 2022 Jan 20. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262807


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had devastating consequences worldwide, including a spike in global mortality. Residents of long-term care homes have been disproportionately affected. We conducted a retrospective cohort study to determine the scale of pandemic-related deaths of long-term care residents in the province of Ontario, Canada, and to estimate excess mortality due to a positive COVID-19 test adjusted for demographics and regional variations. Crude mortality rates for 2019 and 2020 were compared, as were predictors of mortality among residents with positive and negative tests from March 2020 to December 2020. We found the crude mortality rates were higher from April 2020 to June 2020 and from November 2020 to December 2020, corresponding to Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the pandemic in Ontario. There were also substantial increases in mortality among residents with a positive COVID-19 test. The significant differences in excess mortality observed in relation to long-term care home ownership category and geographic region may indicate gaps in the healthcare system that warrant attention from policymakers. Further investigation is needed to identify the most relevant factors in explaining these differences.

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