The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on Canada’s healthcare workers, with nearly 95,000 cases and 43 deaths reported since the start of the pandemic.
The latest figures, as of June 15, 2021, were released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) on Thursday.
Data collected by CIHI showed a 43 percent jump in cases among healthcare staff across the country since January. But the share of cases out of Canada’s total tally among the general population has continued to decline — reaching roughly seven percent — amid greater vaccination coverage, CIHI reported.
“It’s been a significant impact on health-care workers who provide care to Canadians and we’re seeing that in a number of aspects, including the total COVID-19 cases and deaths that have been experienced,” said Lynn McNeely, manager of health workforce information at CIHI.
Besides the physical impact, Ms. McNeely said the pandemic has also presented mental health challenges for healthcare workers grappling with long hours and COVID-19 fatigue.
“There’s no doubt healthcare workers have been working tirelessly for the past year and a half under some really challenging conditions,” she told Global News.
Personal support workers (PSWs) were at the greatest risk of contracting the disease compared with physicians and nurses, data from Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia showed.
Because PSWs tend to work on a part-time basis at multiple facilities, that puts them at an increased risk of exposure, Ms. McNeely said.
Of all the provinces, Quebec was the hardest hit, reporting 45,320 cases and 13 deaths among the healthcare workers. Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, came in second place with 23,557 infections and 17 deaths.
With the country in the midst of the fourth wave of COVID-19 fuelled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, there is a greater push to make vaccinations mandatory for healthcare workers.
In Quebec, healthcare workers will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1, Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday.
The Ontario government will also be requiring hospitals and home and community care service providers in the province to enact COVID-19 vaccine policies by Sept. 7. Individuals will need to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, a medical reason for not having COVID-19 vaccines, or they will need to complete a COVID-19 vaccine educational session, the province said in a statement.
Meanwhile, on Aug. 12, British Columbia became the first province to order people working in long-term care and assisted living to get fully vaccinated as a condition of employment.
This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt