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Long-term care cases made up 80% of Canada's COVID-19 deaths in 1st wave

A man takes a walk outside the Seven Oaks Long-Term Care Home in Toronto on Thursday, June 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The COVID-19 spread in Canada’s long-term care homes during the first wave of the pandemic left the country with one of the highest death rates among countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

A snapshot of Canada’s COVID-19 situation during the first wave of the pandemic is outlined in the chief public health officer’s annual report released on Wednesday.

RELATED: Canada surpasses 10,000 COVID-19 related deaths

Dr. Theresa Tam says the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing inequities involving groups such as seniors, essential service workers, agriculture sector employees, women and racialized Canadians.

She says those groups are disadvantaged in Canadian society and were disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The report says globally, Canada ranked 79th out of 201 countries in terms of total cases per million population and 26th for total deaths, with that disproportionate ranking driven mainly by outbreaks and deaths in long-term care.

Residents of long-term care homes accounted for 80 per cent of the COVID-19 related deaths in the country as of August.

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