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Data ‘problems’ fuel inaccurate statistics on Quebec seniors home COVID-19 deaths, cases

Click to play video: 'Trying to make heads or tails of latest CHSLD COVID-19 numbers' Trying to make heads or tails of latest CHSLD COVID-19 numbers
WATCH: Earlier this week, the Quebec Government released the statistics for COVID-19 cases in the province's public and private longterm care homes. This after those numbers were removed from the internet at the beginning of May. After looking at the latest figures, some jarring discrepancies were unearthed. As Global's Dan Spector explains, the government is aware of the misleading numbers – May 15, 2020

Families and health officials are struggling when it comes to finding out the true impact of novel coronavirus on seniors in Quebec long-term care homes.

Karen Squires’ 90-year-old mother lives at the Vigi Dollard-des-Ormeaux, one of the worst-hit seniors homes in the province. She has been following the COVID-19 numbers put out by the government on a daily basis very closely, but lately, the statistics have her confused.

“When I saw the stats, I was like ‘no, that’s really wrong!” she told Global News.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: No easy fix for problems in Canada’s nursing, retirement homes

The West Island Health Authority (CIUSSS) told Global News 66 people have died of COVID-19 at Vigi DDO since the pandemic began, but on the table the Quebec government published on its website Friday, it says 33 people have died of COVID-19 at Vigi DDO.

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“I think the numbers are getting mixed up,” Squires said.

The problem extends well beyond Vigi DDO. At Centre d’hebergement Denis Benjamin Viger in Ile Bizard, the West Island CIUSSS told Global News this week there had been 14 COVID-19 deaths. The latest government table shows only nine.

The Lakeshore Hospital is a designated COVID-19 centre. Tuesday, the West Island CIUSSS told Global News there were 76 active COVID-19 cases there. Quebec says there are three.

Click to play video: 'Quebec minister under fire for government’s handling of outbreaks in long-term care homes' Quebec minister under fire for government’s handling of outbreaks in long-term care homes
Quebec minister under fire for government’s handling of outbreaks in long-term care homes – May 8, 2020

“We are looking at the differences that can come from different reports. There are ones that are manual, ones that are different systems. Even the ones that measure the deaths, there are two or three systems that do it, and we sometimes have some differences,” explained Quebec Public Health Director Horacio Arruda.

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READ MORE: Staff infected at Vigi Mont-Royal seniors’ residence after ventilation system malfunction

Arruda admitted officials are struggling to get the numbers right, but promised there is no plot to suppress alarming statistics.

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“We didn’t have any command, or anybody say ‘don’t show the data,” he said.

The Quebec Health Ministry also admitted the problem to Global News in a statement.

“We are indeed aware that there seem to be problems with the different data. We are trying to resolve the situation,” said Robert Maranda, a Quebec Health Ministry spokesperson.

READ MORE: Nurses brought Vigi-Santé to court in bid to get better protection for staff at Vigi Mont-Royal

The West Island CIUSSS said its data is from closer to the field.

“As the situation is changing rapidly, there may be a gap between the number of cases and deaths recorded in the field and the official data,” said West Island CIUSSS spokesperson Guillaume Bérubé.

“The Prime Minister is asking us every morning ‘where is the data?’ We are making sure the one we’re going to put is the right one,” said Arruda.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Some families hit brick wall at long-term care homes' Coronavirus: Some families hit brick wall at long-term care homes
Coronavirus: Some families hit brick wall at long-term care homes – May 11, 2020

Squires is supposed to go into Vigi DDO on Monday to begin caring for her mother, who seemingly has beat COVID-19.

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“She beat the COVID. It’s amazing, on one kidney,” said Squires.

It would be useful to know just what she’s in for when she enters the embattled residence, but until the government gets its numbers straight, she won’t know the reality until she sees it for herself.

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