COVID-19 has taken 'heavy toll' on female immigrants working in health care, report says
2020-09-10 from cbc.ca
A surprisingly high proportion of COVID-19 cases in Ontario have been among women working in health care, according to a new report that experts say intensifies calls for better protection.
The report — co-authored by Dr. Astrid Guttmann, chief science officer at ICES, a not-for-profit research institute — follows a study that linked immigration and provincial health administrative data to look at patterns of COVID-19 testing from mid-January to mid-June among newcomers and their Canadian-born counterparts.
"I was surprised by the high proportion of positive cases, especially amongst women who were health-care workers," Guttmann said in an interview. "It's very clear that the pandemic has taken a very heavy toll on this group of women."
The researchers linked provincial COVID-19 test results from more than 624,000 individuals in Ontario to federal data on 2.6 million immigrants and 549,000 refugees who arrived from 1985 to 2017. Residents of long-term care homes were excluded, as were people who aren't eligible for provincial health coverage, such as asylum seekers awaiting refugee hearings.
Among all adult females in the study who tested positive for COVID-19, 36 per cent were employed as health-care workers. Of those, a further 45 per cent were immigrants and refugees, with those born in the Philippines, Jamaica and Nigeria accounting for the bulk of cases, the researchers reported on Wednesday.
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