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Coronavirus: Military intervention needed at Ontario long-term care homes, group says

Click to play video 'Families call for military intervention at Ontario LTC home' Families call for military intervention at Ontario LTC home
WATCH: Seniors advocates are calling for military intervention at Ontario's Tendercare Living Centre, where 52 residents have died of COVID-19. Morganne Campbell reports. – Jan 2, 2021

A non-profit that represents health-care professionals and patients is calling for military intervention in Ontario’s long-term care homes to help control outbreaks of COVID-19.

The executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition says redeploying the Canadian Armed Forces to the hard-hit facilities is not the group’s first choice, but that there aren’t many short-term options.

Natalie Mehra says outbreaks in long-term care home have been “growing extremely quickly” and death counts are mounting.

Read more: At least 52 residents have died at Toronto long-term care home after coronavirus outbreak

She says that hospitals are treating a worrying number of patients, and some are experiencing outbreaks of their own.

Click to play video 'Families of Scarborough long-term care home residents call for military intervention' Families of Scarborough long-term care home residents call for military intervention
Families of Scarborough long-term care home residents call for military intervention – Dec 29, 2020

As of Thursday — the most recently available data — the province was reporting 1,235 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 337 in ICU.

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The same day, the province said there were 187 long-term care homes experiencing active outbreaks of COVID-19.

Read more: Canadian military creates ‘Operation Vector’ to help with coronavirus vaccine rollout

A hospital that has taken over Tendercare Living Centre in Toronto said Thursday that 52 residents have died due to an outbreak at the home.

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When the military was deployed to long-term care homes in the first wave of the pandemic, it came out with a damning report that included accounts of aggressive feeding that caused choking, bleeding infections and residents crying for help for hours.

That report was part of what spurred the province to launch an independent commission examining the disproportionate spread of the novel coronavirus within the facilities.

That commission has so far come out with two sets of interim recommendations for long-term care facilities.