More employees in Montreal’s most dilapidated hospitals have contracted COVID-19, a new study shows.
The Sacré-Cœur, Verdun, Maisonneuve-Rosemont and Lakeshore hospitals in Montreal are poor compared to those recently built or renovated such as the CHUM, the MUHC or the Jewish General Hospital. More workers there have contracted COVID-19, according to the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ).
A study conducted on the seroprevalence of COVID-19, or the presence of antibodies in the blood, among 2,000 health workers from eight Montreal hospitals shows a “fairly high” rate of 14% among them.
“It highlights how healthcare workers are more at risk than the general population,” says researcher Nicholas Brousseau.
But if the rates vary from 5 to 7% in the new hospitals, the older ones like the Sacré-Coeur, show a seroprevalence of 18% to 32%.
On whether obsolescence played a role in the spread of COVID-19 among employees, Dr.r Brousseau indicates that this is a hypothesis that his study can “neither confirm nor deny”.
Hospitals with a high seroprevalence rate also experienced outbreaks on different units during the first wave of the pandemic. But the study couldn’t determine where exactly the workers contracted the coronavirus.
” Yes, [la vétusté] may have played a role, but there are probably other factors as well, ”says microbiologist Karl Weiss. He notably cites ventilation or the wearing of protective equipment such as N95 masks.
“The dilapidation of the premises has a major impact,” believes Kathleen Bertrand, the president of the Union of North-Island Care Professionals – FIQ.
For the Dre Marie-Michelle Bellon, dilapidation “comes into play.” She also notes in the study that nurses and attendants are the employees most affected. Also, employees of COVID-19 units are more affected than those in intensive care, who wear N95 masks, she argues.