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1.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 22(1): 81, 2022 Jan 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1634365

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Many professional services were pressed to adopt telepractice in response to the global coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. The need to adopt a new service delivery approach quickly created different implementation challenges. This study explored the lived experiences of frontline clinicians who successfully transitioned their in-person speech-language therapy services to telepractice through an implementation science lens. METHODS: The study was conducted in partnership with one publicly funded program in Ontario, Canada that offers services to preschoolers with speech, language and communication disorders. Sixteen frontline speech-language pathologists and assistants at this organization shared their lived experience transitioning to telepractice during the pandemic during videoconference interviews. A narrative inquiry approach was used to analyze interview transcripts to identify the processes (or steps) this program took to implement telepractice and to understand the facilitators and barriers to telepractice implementation during the pandemic. RESULTS: The following six stages were identified from clinicians' narratives: abrupt lockdown; weeks of uncertainty; telepractice emerged as an option; preparation for telepractice; telepractice trials; and finally, full implementation of telepractice. The stages of events offered significant insights into how government public health measures influenced clinicians' decisions and their processes of adopting telepractice. In terms of barriers, clinicians reported a lack of knowledge, skills and experience with telepractice and a lack of technological support. The organization's learning climate and team approach to transitioning services were identified as the main facilitator of implementation. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest a need for better coordination of public health measures and professional services, which would have eased clinicians' stress and facilitated an earlier transition to telepractice. Fostering an organization's learning climate may improve organization's resilience in response to emergency situations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communication Disorders , Speech-Language Pathology , Telemedicine , Child, Preschool , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pathologists , SARS-CoV-2 , Speech
2.
Euro Surveill ; 26(50)2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1630537

ABSTRACT

BackgroundSerosurveys for SARS-CoV-2 aim to estimate the proportion of the population that has been infected.AimThis observational study assesses the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in Ontario, Canada during the first pandemic wave.MethodsUsing an orthogonal approach, we tested 8,902 residual specimens from the Public Health Ontario laboratory over three time periods during March-June 2020 and stratified results by age group, sex and region. We adjusted for antibody test sensitivity/specificity and compared with reported PCR-confirmed COVID-19 cases.ResultsAdjusted seroprevalence was 0.5% (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.1-1.5) from 27 March-30 April, 1.5% (95% CI: 0.7-2.2) from 26-31 May, and 1.1% (95% CI: 0.8-1.3) from 5-30 June 2020. Adjusted estimates were highest in individuals aged ≥ 60 years in March-April (1.3%; 95% CI: 0.2-4.6), in those aged 20-59 years in May (2.1%; 95% CI: 0.8-3.4) and in those aged ≥ 60 years in June (1.6%; 95% CI: 1.1-2.1). Regional seroprevalence varied, and was highest for Toronto in March-April (0.9%; 95% CI: 0.1-3.1), for Toronto in May (3.2%; 95% CI: 1.0-5.3) and for Toronto (1.5%; 95% CI: 0.9-2.1) and Central East in June (1.5%; 95% CI: 1.0-2.0). We estimate that COVID-19 cases detected by PCR in Ontario underestimated SARS-CoV-2 infections by a factor of 4.9.ConclusionsOur results indicate low population seroprevalence in Ontario, suggesting that public health measures were effective at limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2 during the first pandemic wave.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics , Seroepidemiologic Studies
3.
Fam Med Community Health ; 9(4)2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1626835

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a one-time cash transfer of $C1000 in people who are unable to physically distance due to insufficient income. DESIGN: Open-label, multi-centre, randomised superiority trial. SETTING: Seven primary care sites in Ontario, Canada; six urban sites associated with St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and one in Manitoulin Island. PARTICIPANTS: 392 individuals who reported trouble affording basic necessities due to disruptions related to COVID-19. INTERVENTION: After random allocation, participants either received the cash transfer of $C1000 (n=196) or physical distancing guidelines alone (n=196). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was the maximum number of symptoms consistent with COVID-19 over 14 days. Secondary outcomes were meeting clinical criteria for COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 presence, number of close contacts, general health and ability to afford basic necessities. RESULTS: The primary outcome of number of symptoms reported by participants did not differ between groups after 2 weeks (cash transfer, mean 1.6 vs 1.9, ratio of means 0.83; 95% CI 0.56 to 1.24). There were no statistically significant effects on secondary outcomes of the meeting COVID-19 clinical criteria (7.9% vs 12.8%; risk difference -0.05; 95% CI -0.11 to 0.01), SARS-CoV-2 presence (0.5% vs 0.6%; risk difference 0.00 95% CI -0.02 to 0.02), mean number of close contacts (3.5 vs 3.7; rate ratio 1.10; 95% CI 0.83 to 1.46), general health very good or excellent (60% vs 63%; risk difference -0.03 95% CI -0.14 to 0.08) and ability to make ends meet (52% vs 51%; risk difference 0.01 95% CI -0.10 to 0.12). CONCLUSIONS: A single cash transfer did not reduce the COVID-19 symptoms or improve the ability to afford necessities. Further studies are needed to determine whether some groups may benefit from financial supports and to determine if a higher level of support is beneficial. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04359264.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Financial Statements , Humans , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
4.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(1): e2143144, 2022 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1620075

ABSTRACT

Importance: Self-harm and deaths among adolescents and young adults are notably related to drug poisonings and suicide. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are projections about a greater likelihood of such events arising among adolescents and young adults. Objective: To evaluate the risk of self-harm, overdose, and all-cause mortality among adolescents and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based cohort study took place in Ontario, Canada, where a universal health care system captures all emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. The participants included all adolescents and young adults born in Ontario between 1990 and 2006, who were aged 14 to 24 years between March 1, 2018, and June 30, 2021. Exposures: The COVID-19 pandemic era (April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021), relative to the 2 years preceding the pandemic (March 1, 2018 to February 28, 2020). Main Outcomes and Measures: ED encounters or hospitalizations for self-harm or overdose. A secondary outcome was self-harm, overdose, or all-cause mortality. Cause-specific hazard models to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% CIs were used for the primary outcome. Follow-up started at March 1, 2018, or the individual's 14th birthday, whichever was later, and age was used as the time scale. Results: In this study, 1 690 733 adolescents and young adults (823 904 [51.3%] female participants) were included with a median (IQR) age of 17.7 (14.1-21.4) years at start of follow-up. After 4 110 903 person-years of follow-up, 6224 adolescents and young adults experienced the primary outcome of self-harm or overdose during the pandemic (39.7 per 10 000 person-years) vs 12 970 (51.0 per 10 000 person-years) prepandemic, with an HR of 0.78 (95% CI, 0.75-0.80). The risk of self-harm, overdose, or death was also lower during than before the pandemic (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.76-0.81), but not all-cause mortality (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.86-1.05). Conclusions and Relevance: Among adolescents and young adults, the initial 15-month period of the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a relative decline in hospital care for self-harm or overdose.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Emergency Service, Hospital , Hospitalization , Pandemics , Self-Injurious Behavior , Suicide , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cause of Death , Cohort Studies , Delivery of Health Care , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Ontario/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Self-Injurious Behavior/epidemiology , Suicide/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
5.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(1): e2142354, 2022 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1604496

ABSTRACT

Importance: Deferred diabetic foot screening and delays in timely care of acute foot complications during the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to an increase in limb loss. Objective: To evaluate the association of the COVID-19 pandemic with diabetes-related care measures, foot complications, and amputation. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based cohort study included all adult residents of Ontario, Canada, with diabetes and compared the rates of selected outcomes from January 1, 2020, to February 23, 2021, vs January 1, 2019, to February 23, 2020. Main Outcomes and Measures: Comprehensive in-person diabetes care assessment, including foot examination; hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) measurement; emergency department visit or hospitalization for diabetic foot ulceration, osteomyelitis, or gangrene; lower extremity open or endovascular revascularization; minor (toe or partial-foot) amputation; and major (above-ankle) leg amputation. Rates and rate ratios (RRs) comparing 2020-2021 vs 2019-2020 for each measure were calculated for 10-week periods, anchored relative to onset of the pandemic on March 11, 2020 (11th week of 2020). Results: On March 11, 2020, the study included 1 488 605 adults with diabetes (median [IQR] age, 65 [55-74] years; 776 665 [52.2%] men), and on March 11, 2019, the study included 1 441 029 adults with diabetes (median [IQR] age, 65 [55-74] years; 751 459 [52.1%] men). After the onset of the pandemic, rates of major amputation in 2020-2021 decreased compared with 2019-2020 levels. The RR for the prepandemic period from January 1 to March 10 was 1.05 (95% CI, 0.88-1.25), with RRs in the pandemic periods ranging from 0.86 (95% CI, 0.72-1.03) in May 20 to July 28 to 0.95 (95% CI, 0.80-1.13) in October 7 to December 15. There were no consistent differences in demographic characteristics or comorbidities of patients undergoing amputation in the 2020-2021 vs 2019-2020 periods. Rates of comprehensive in-person diabetes care assessment and HbA1c measurement declined sharply and remained below 2019-2020 levels (eg, in-person assessment, March 11 to May 19: RR, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.28-0.28). The rates of emergency department visits (eg, March 11 to May 19: RR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.61-0.75), hospitalization (eg, March 11 to May 19: RR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.68-0.87), open revascularization (eg, March 11 to May 19: RR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.56-0.79), endovascular revascularization (March 11 to May 19: RR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.61-0.81), and minor amputation (March 11 to May 19: RR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.60-0.83) initially dropped but recovered to 2019-2020 levels over the study period. Conclusions and Relevance: In this population-based cohort study, disruptions in care related to the COVID-19 pandemic were not associated with excess leg amputations among people living with diabetes. As the pandemic ends, improved prevention and treatment of diabetic foot complications will be necessary to maintain these positive results.


Subject(s)
Amputation , COVID-19 , Delivery of Health Care/methods , Diabetes Mellitus , Diabetic Foot/surgery , Pandemics , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Comorbidity , Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology , Diabetes Mellitus/therapy , Diabetic Foot/epidemiology , Diabetic Foot/therapy , Emergency Service, Hospital , Female , Foot/pathology , Foot/surgery , Glycated Hemoglobin A , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Ontario/epidemiology , Physical Examination , SARS-CoV-2 , Vascular Surgical Procedures
6.
CMAJ Open ; 9(4): E1223-E1231, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593829

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased demand for health care resources and, in some cases, shortage of medical equipment and staff. Our objective was to develop and validate a multivariable model to predict risk of hospitalization for patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: We used routinely collected health records in a patient cohort to develop and validate our prediction model. This cohort included adult patients (age ≥ 18 yr) from Ontario, Canada, who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 ribonucleic acid by polymerase chain reaction between Feb. 2 and Oct. 5, 2020, and were followed up through Nov. 5, 2020. Patients living in long-term care facilities were excluded, as they were all assumed to be at high risk of hospitalization for COVID-19. Risk of hospitalization within 30 days of diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection was estimated via gradient-boosting decision trees, and variable importance examined via Shapley values. We built a gradient-boosting model using the Extreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost) algorithm and compared its performance against 4 empirical rules commonly used for risk stratifications based on age and number of comorbidities. RESULTS: The cohort included 36 323 patients with 2583 hospitalizations (7.1%). Hospitalized patients had a higher median age (64 yr v. 43 yr), were more likely to be male (56.3% v. 47.3%) and had a higher median number of comorbidities (3, interquartile range [IQR] 2-6 v. 1, IQR 0-3) than nonhospitalized patients. Patients were split into development (n = 29 058, 80.0%) and held-out validation (n = 7265, 20.0%) cohorts. The gradient-boosting model achieved high discrimination (development cohort: area under the receiver operating characteristic curve across the 5 folds of 0.852; validation cohort: 0.8475) and strong calibration (slope = 1.01, intercept = -0.01). The patients who scored at the top 10% captured 47.4% of hospitalizations, and those who scored at the top 30% captured 80.6%. INTERPRETATION: We developed and validated an accurate risk stratification model using routinely collected health administrative data. We envision that modelling such risk stratification based on routinely collected health data could support management of COVID-19 on a population health level.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Decision Trees , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Risk Assessment , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Statistical , Ontario/epidemiology , Risk Assessment/methods , Risk Factors
7.
CMAJ Open ; 9(4): E1205-E1212, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592340

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer screening in Ontario, Canada, was deferred during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a prioritization framework to resume services according to breast cancer risk was developed. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the pandemic within the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) by comparing total volumes of screening mammographic examinations and volumes of screening mammographic examinations with abnormal results before and during the pandemic, and to assess backlogs on the basis of adherence to the prioritization framework. METHODS: A descriptive study was conducted among women aged 50 to 74 years at average risk and women aged 30 to 69 years at high risk, who participated in the OBSP. Percentage change was calculated by comparing observed monthly volumes of mammographic examinations from March 2020 to March 2021 with 2019 volumes and proportions by risk group. We plotted estimates of backlog volumes of mammographic examinations by risk group, comparing pandemic with prepandemic screening practices. Volumes of mammographic examinations with abnormal results were plotted by risk group. RESULTS: Volumes of mammographic examinations in the OBSP showed the largest declines in April and May 2020 (> 99% decrease) and returned to prepandemic levels as of March 2021, with an accumulated backlog of 340 876 examinations. As of March 2021, prioritization had reduced the backlog volumes of screens for participants at high risk for breast cancer by 96.5% (186 v. 5469 expected) and annual rescreens for participants at average risk for breast cancer by 13.5% (62 432 v. 72 202 expected); there was a minimal decline for initial screens. Conversely, the backlog increased by 7.6% for biennial rescreens (221 674 v. 206 079 expected). More than half (59.4%) of mammographic examinations with abnormal results were for participants in the higher risk groups. INTERPRETATION: Prioritizing screening for those at higher risk for breast cancer may increase diagnostic yield and redirect resources to minimize potential long-term harms caused by the pandemic. This further supports the clinical utility of risk-stratified cancer screening.


Subject(s)
Breast Neoplasms/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Early Detection of Cancer , Guideline Adherence/statistics & numerical data , Mammography , Aged , Early Detection of Cancer/methods , Early Detection of Cancer/standards , Early Detection of Cancer/statistics & numerical data , Female , Health Priorities/standards , Health Priorities/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Mammography/standards , Mammography/statistics & numerical data , Middle Aged , Ontario/epidemiology , Risk Factors
8.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(12): e2140875, 2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1595340

ABSTRACT

Importance: Longitudinal research on specific forms of electronic screen use and mental health symptoms in children and youth during COVID-19 is minimal. Understanding the association may help develop policies and interventions targeting specific screen activities to promote healthful screen use and mental health in children and youth. Objective: To determine whether specific forms of screen use (television [TV] or digital media, video games, electronic learning, and video-chatting time) were associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, conduct problems, irritability, hyperactivity, and inattention in children and youth during COVID-19. Design, Setting, and Participants: A longitudinal cohort study with repeated measures of exposures and outcomes was conducted in children and youth aged 2 to 18 years in Ontario, Canada, between May 2020 and April 2021 across 4 cohorts of children or youth: 2 community cohorts and 2 clinically referred cohorts. Parents were asked to complete repeated questionnaires about their children's health behaviors and mental health symptoms during COVID-19. Main Outcomes and Measures: The exposure variables were children's daily TV or digital media time, video game time, electronic-learning time, and video-chatting time. The mental health outcomes were parent-reported symptoms of child depression, anxiety, conduct problems and irritability, and hyperactivity/inattention using validated standardized tools. Results: This study included 2026 children with 6648 observations. In younger children (mean [SD] age, 5.9 [2.5] years; 275 male participants [51.7%]), higher TV or digital media time was associated with higher levels of conduct problems (age 2-4 years: ß, 0.22 [95% CI, 0.10-0.35]; P < .001; age ≥4 years: ß, 0.07 [95% CI, 0.02-0.11]; P = .007) and hyperactivity/inattention (ß, 0.07 [95% CI, 0.006-0.14]; P = .04). In older children and youth (mean [SD] age, 11.3 [3.3] years; 844 male participants [56.5%]), higher levels of TV or digital media time were associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, and inattention; higher levels of video game time were associated with higher levels of depression, irritability, inattention, and hyperactivity. Higher levels of electronic learning time were associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study, higher levels of screen use were associated poor mental health of children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings suggest that policy intervention as well as evidence-informed social supports are needed to promote healthful screen use and mental health in children and youth during the pandemic and beyond.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Neurodevelopmental Disorders/diagnosis , Pandemics , Screen Time , Adolescent , Anxiety/diagnosis , Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/diagnosis , Child , Conduct Disorder/diagnosis , Depression/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Ontario/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
9.
BMJ Open ; 11(12): e052019, 2021 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1583101

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to estimate background rates of selected thromboembolic and coagulation disorders in Ontario, Canada. DESIGN: Population-based retrospective observational study using linked health administrative databases. Records of hospitalisations and emergency department visits were searched to identify cases using International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision, Canada diagnostic codes. PARTICIPANTS: All Ontario residents. PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence rates of ischaemic stroke, intracerebral haemorrhage, subarachnoid haemorrhage, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, idiopathic thrombocytopaenia, disseminated intravascular coagulation and cerebral venous thrombosis during five prepandemic years (2015-2019) and 2020. RESULTS: The average annual population was 14 million with 51% female. The mean annual rates per 100 000 population during 2015-2019 were 127.1 (95% CI 126.2 to 127.9) for ischaemic stroke, 22.0 (95% CI 21.6 to 22.3) for intracerebral haemorrhage, 9.4 (95% CI 9.2 to 9.7) for subarachnoid haemorrhage, 86.8 (95% CI 86.1 to 87.5) for deep vein thrombosis, 63.7 (95% CI 63.1 to 64.3) for pulmonary embolism, 6.1 (95% CI 5.9 to 6.3) for idiopathic thrombocytopaenia, 1.6 (95% CI 1.5 to 1.7) for disseminated intravascular coagulation, and 1.5 (95% CI 1.4 to 1.6) for cerebral venous thrombosis. Rates were lower in 2020 than during the prepandemic years for ischaemic stroke, deep vein thrombosis and idiopathic thrombocytopaenia. Rates were generally consistent over time, except for pulmonary embolism, which increased from 57.1 to 68.5 per 100 000 between 2015 and 2019. Rates were higher for females than males for subarachnoid haemorrhage, pulmonary embolism and cerebral venous thrombosis, and vice versa for ischaemic stroke and intracerebral haemorrhage. Rates increased with age for most of these conditions, but idiopathic thrombocytopaenia demonstrated a bimodal distribution with incidence peaks at 0-19 years and ≥60 years. CONCLUSIONS: Our estimated background rates help contextualise observed events of these potential adverse events of special interest and to detect potential safety signals related to COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
Brain Ischemia , COVID-19 , Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation , Pulmonary Embolism , Stroke , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19 Vaccines , Child , Child, Preschool , Emergency Service, Hospital , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Incidence , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Ontario/epidemiology , Pulmonary Embolism/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Stroke/epidemiology , Young Adult
10.
BMJ Open ; 11(12): e053758, 2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1583098

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The novel COVID-19 required many countries to impose public health measures that likely impacted the participation and mobility of community-dwelling older adults. This protocol details a multimethod cohort design undertaken to describe short-term and medium-term changes to the mobility and participation of older Canadians living in the community rather than retirement facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A longitudinal telephone (or online)-administered survey is being conducted with a random sample of older adults living within 20 km of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, identified from census dissemination areas. Baseline data collection of community-dwelling older adults aged 65 years and over began in May 2020 with follow-ups at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. The Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument and global rating of change anchors are the primary outcomes of interest. A subsample of respondents will participate in open-ended, semistructured interviews conducted over the telephone or through video-conference, to explore participants' lived experiences with respect to their mobility and participation during the pandemic. Descriptive statistics and quantitative approaches will be used to determine changes in mobility and social and personal participation, and associated personal and environmental factors. For the interviews, qualitative data will be analysed using descriptive phenomenology. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Approval was obtained from the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board of McMaster University (2020-10814-GRA). This study may inform the design of programmes that can support community-dwelling older adults during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and conferences focused on ageing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , Humans , Independent Living , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
11.
CMAJ Open ; 9(4): E1149-E1158, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575519

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There were large disruptions to health care services after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We sought to describe the extent to which pandemic-related changes in service delivery and access affected use of primary care for children overall and by equity strata in the 9 months after pandemic onset in Manitoba and Ontario. METHODS: We performed a population-based study of children aged 17 years or less with provincial health insurance in Ontario or Manitoba before and during the COVID-19 pandemic (Jan. 1, 2017-Nov. 28, 2020). We calculated the weekly rates of in-person and virtual primary care well-child and sick visits, overall and by age group, neighbourhood material deprivation level, rurality and immigrant status, and assessed changes in visit rates after COVID-19 restrictions were imposed compared to expected baseline rates calculated for the 3 years before pandemic onset. RESULTS: Among almost 3 million children in Ontario and more than 300 000 children in Manitoba, primary care visit rates declined to 0.80 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.77-0.82) of expected in Ontario and 0.82 (95% CI 0.79-0.84) of expected in Manitoba in the 9 months after the onset of the pandemic. Virtual visits accounted for 53% and 29% of visits in Ontario and Manitoba, respectively. The largest monthly decreases in visits occurred in April 2020. Although visit rates increased slowly after April 2020, they had not returned to prerestriction levels by November 2020 in either province. Children aged more than 1 year to 12 years experienced the greatest decrease in visits, especially for well-child care. Compared to prepandemic levels, visit rates were lowest among rural Manitobans, urban Ontarians and Ontarians in low-income neighbourhoods. INTERPRETATION: During the study period, the pandemic contributed to rapid, immediate and inequitable decreases in primary care use, with some recovery and a substantial shift to virtual care. Postpandemic planning must consider the need for catch-up visits, and the long-term impacts warrant further study.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Pediatrics/statistics & numerical data , Primary Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Age Distribution , Ambulatory Care/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , Databases, Factual , Emigrants and Immigrants , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Manitoba/epidemiology , Ontario/epidemiology , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Pandemics , Population Surveillance , Rural Population
12.
BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 2271, 2021 12 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1571756

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health measures have resulted in the closure of many physical activity-supporting facilities. This study examined Ontario parents' and children's perspectives of COVID-19's impact on children's physical activity behaviours, return to play/sport during COVID-19, as well as barriers/facilitators to getting active amid extended closures of physical activity venues. METHODS: Parents/guardians of children aged 12 years and under living in Ontario, Canada were invited to participate in an interview. 12 parent/guardian and 9 child interviews were conducted via Zoom between December 2020 - January 2021, were audio-recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Thematic content analysis was undertaken to identify pronounced themes. RESULTS: Themes for both parent and child interviews fell into one of three categories: 1) barriers and facilitators for getting children active amid COVID-19 closures of physical activity-supporting facilities; 2) changes in children's activity levels; and, 3) perspectives on return to play/sport during and post-pandemic. Various subthemes were identified and varied between parents and children. The most common facilitator for dealing with children's inactivity voiced by parents/guardians was getting active outdoors. Parents/guardians noted their willingness to have their children return to play/sport in the community once deemed safe by public health guidelines, and children's willingness to return stemmed primarily from missing their friends and other important authority figures (e.g., coaches) and sporting events (e.g., tournaments). CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study could inform families of feasible and realistic strategies for increasing children's physical activity during community closures, while also providing public health experts with information regarding what supports, or infrastructure might be needed during future lockdown periods and/or pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Exercise , Humans , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Parents , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(24)2021 12 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1554847

ABSTRACT

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing measures were put into place to flatten the pandemic curve. It was projected that older adults were at increased risk for poor psychological and health outcomes resulting from increased social isolation and loneliness. However, little research has supported this projection among community-dwelling older adults. While a growing body of research has examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults, there is a paucity of qualitative research that captures the lived experience of community-dwelling older adults in Canada. The current study aimed to better understand the lived experience of community-dwelling older adults during the first six months of the pandemic in Ontario, Canada. Semi-structured one-on-one interviews were conducted with independent-living older adults aged 65 years and older. A total of 22 interviews were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Following a recursive process, two overarching themes were identified: perceived threat and challenges of the pandemic, and coping with the pandemic. Specifically, participants reflected on the threat of contracting the virus and challenges associated with living arrangements, social isolation, and financial insecurity. Participants shared their coping strategies to maintain health and wellbeing, including behavioral strategies, emotion-focused strategies, and social support. Overall, this research highlights resilience among older adults during the first six months of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Aged , Humans , Ontario/epidemiology , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2
14.
CMAJ Open ; 9(4): E988-E997, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524571

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The extent to which heightened distress during the COVID-19 pandemic translated to increases in severe mental health outcomes is unknown. We examined trends in psychiatric presentations to acute care settings in the first 12 months after onset of the pandemic. METHODS: This was a trends analysis of administrative population data in Ontario, Canada. We examined rates of hospitalizations and emergency department visits for mental health diagnoses overall and stratified by sex, age and diagnostic grouping (e.g., mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders), as well as visits for intentional self-injury for people aged 10 to 105 years, from January 2019 to March 2021. We used Joinpoint regression to identify significant inflection points after the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. RESULTS: Among the 12 968 100 people included in our analysis, rates of mental health-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits declined immediately after the onset of the pandemic (peak overall decline of 30% [hospitalizations] and 37% [emergency department visits] compared to April 2019) and returned to near prepandemic levels by March 2021. Compared to April 2019, visits for intentional self-injury declined by 33% and remained below prepandemic levels until March 2021. We observed the largest declines in service use among adolescents aged 14 to 17 years (55% decline in hospitalizations, 58% decline in emergency department visits) and 10 to 13 years (56% decline in self-injury), and for those with substance-related disorders (33% decline in emergency department visits) and anxiety disorders (61% decline in hospitalizations). INTERPRETATION: Contrary to expectations, the abrupt decline in acute mental health service use immediately after the onset of the pandemic and the return to near prepandemic levels that we observed suggest that changes and stressors in the first 12 months of the pandemic did not translate to increased service use. Continued surveillance of acute mental health service use is warranted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Mental Health Services/statistics & numerical data , Mental Health Services/trends , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anxiety Disorders/epidemiology , Child , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mood Disorders/epidemiology , Ontario/epidemiology , Psychotic Disorders/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Self-Injurious Behavior/epidemiology , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Young Adult
15.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(10): 1840-1848, 2021 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1522143

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Within-household transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has been identified as one of the main sources of spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after lockdown restrictions and self-isolation guidelines are implemented. Secondary attack rates among household contacts are estimated to be 5-10 times higher than among non-household contacts, but it is unclear which individuals are more prone to transmit infection within their households. METHODS: Using address matching, a cohort was assembled of all individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 residing in private households in Ontario, Canada. Descriptive analyses were performed to compare characteristics of cases in households that experienced secondary transmission versus those that did not. Logistic regression models were fit to determine index case characteristics and neighborhood characteristics associated with transmission. RESULTS: Between January and July 2020, there were 26 714 individuals with COVID-19 residing in 21 226 households. Longer testing delays (≥5 vs 0 days; odds ratio [OR], 3.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.53-3.60) and male gender (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.18-1.38) were associated with greater odds of household secondary transmission, while being a healthcare worker (OR, .56; 95% CI, .50-.62) was associated with lower odds of transmission. Neighborhoods with larger average family size and a higher proportion of households with multiple persons per room were also associated with greater odds of transmission. CONCLUSIONS: It is important for individuals to get tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection as soon as symptoms appear, and to isolate away from household contacts; this is particularly important in neighborhoods with large family sizes and/or crowded households.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cohort Studies , Communicable Disease Control , Family Characteristics , Humans , Male , Ontario/epidemiology
16.
J Clin Psychiatry ; 82(4)2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518675

ABSTRACT

Objective: The conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic could negatively affect maternal mental health and the mother-infant relationship. The aim of this study is to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on depression, anxiety, and mother-infant bonding among women seeking treatment for postpartum depression (PPD).Methods: Baseline data collected in two separate randomized controlled trials of a psychoeducational intervention for PPD in the same geographic region, one prior to COVID-19 (March 2019-March 2020) and one during the COVID-19 pandemic (April-October 2020), were compared. Eligible participants had an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) score of ≥ 10, were ≥ 18 years of age, had an infant < 12 months old, and were fluent in English. Outcomes included PPD (EPDS), anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 [GAD-7]), and mother-infant relationship (Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire [PBQ]). All were measured continuously and dichotomized at accepted clinical cutoffs.Results: Of the 603 participants (305 pre-COVID-19; 298 during COVID-19), mothers enrolled during the COVID-19 pandemic reported higher levels of symptoms of PPD (B = 1.35; 95% CI, 0.64 to 2.06; Cohen d = 0.31) and anxiety (B = 1.52; 95% CI, 0.72 to 2.32; Cohen d = 0.30). During COVID-19, women had 65% higher odds of clinically significant levels of depression symptoms (OR = 1.65; 95% CI, 1.13 to 2.31) and 46% higher odds of clinically relevant anxiety symptoms (OR = 1.46; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.05). However, there were no statistically significant differences in mother-infant bonding.Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that rates and severity of PPD and anxiety symptoms among women seeking treatment for PPD have worsened in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, treatment-seeking mothers have consistently maintained good relationships with their infants. Considering the difficulties women with PPD face when accessing treatment, it is important that strategies are developed and disseminated to safely identify and manage PPD to mitigate potential long-term adverse consequences for mothers and their families.Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifiers: NCT03654261 and NCT04485000.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/etiology , COVID-19/psychology , Depression, Postpartum/etiology , Mother-Child Relations/psychology , Mothers/psychology , Object Attachment , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Anxiety/diagnosis , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Depression, Postpartum/epidemiology , Depression, Postpartum/psychology , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Ontario/epidemiology , Risk Factors , Self Report , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
17.
J Spinal Cord Med ; 44(sup1): S147-S158, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517694

ABSTRACT

CONTEXT: Dedicated implementation efforts are critical to bridging the gaps between current practices and best practices. A quality improvement collaborative (QIC), the Spinal Cord Injury Implementation and Evaluation Quality Care Consortium (SCI IEQCC), was established to meet this need, bringing together a network of clinicians and administrators to systematically improve the quality and equity of tertiary spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D) rehabilitation care in Ontario, Canada. METHODS: Clinicians and leaders from five tertiary SCI/D rehabilitation centers and two not-for-profit SCI/D advocacy groups comprised a network dedicated to supporting implementation of the SCI-High quality indicators in prioritized domains of SCI rehabilitation and related best practices by: (1) building capacity through implementation science education of frontline clinicians; (2) providing resources and support to empower frontline clinicians to lead quality improvement efforts within their institutions; (3) promoting wider learning through a network for sharing ideas, efforts, and experiences; and (4) collecting indicator data to facilitate provincial evaluation of goal attainment. RESULTS: Network members and sites collaborated to implement best practices within six priority domains; in 18 months, significant progress has been made in emotional wellbeing, sexual health, walking, and wheeled mobility despite disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts encompass heterogeneous challenges and strategies, ranging from developing clinical skills programs, to streamlining processes, to manipulating physical space. CONCLUSION: A QIC targeting SCI/D rehabilitation demonstrates promise for advancing the implementation of best practices, building implementation science capacity across multiple sites, and for promoting collaboration amongst SCI/D rehabilitation centers and organizational partners.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spinal Cord Injuries , Humans , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spinal Cord Injuries/epidemiology
18.
CMAJ ; 193(42): E1619-E1625, 2021 10 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496561

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Between February and June 2021, the initial wild-type strains of SARS-CoV-2 were supplanted in Ontario, Canada, by new variants of concern (VOCs), first those with the N501Y mutation (i.e., Alpha/B1.1.17, Beta/B.1.351 and Gamma/P.1 variants) and then the Delta/B.1.617 variant. The increased transmissibility of these VOCs has been documented, but knowledge about their virulence is limited. We used Ontario's COVID-19 case data to evaluate the virulence of these VOCs compared with non-VOC SARS-CoV-2 strains, as measured by risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and death. METHODS: We created a retrospective cohort of people in Ontario who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and were screened for VOCs, with dates of test report between Feb. 7 and June 27, 2021. We constructed mixed-effect logistic regression models with hospitalization, ICU admission and death as outcome variables. We adjusted models for age, sex, time, vaccination status, comorbidities and pregnancy status. We included health units as random intercepts. RESULTS: Our cohort included 212 326 people. Compared with non-VOC SARS-CoV-2 strains, the adjusted elevation in risk associated with N501Y-positive variants was 52% (95% confidence interval [CI] 42%-63%) for hospitalization, 89% (95% CI 67%-117%) for ICU admission and 51% (95% CI 30%-78%) for death. Increased risk with the Delta variant was more pronounced at 108% (95% CI 78%-140%) for hospitalization, 235% (95% CI 160%-331%) for ICU admission and 133% (95% CI 54%-231%) for death. INTERPRETATION: The increasing virulence of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs will lead to a considerably larger, and more deadly, pandemic than would have occurred in the absence of the emergence of VOCs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Age Distribution , COVID-19/transmission , Comorbidity , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Male , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pregnancy , Retrospective Studies , Risk Assessment , Vaccination Coverage/statistics & numerical data
19.
BMJ Open ; 11(10): e049209, 2021 10 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495463

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This study analyses longitudinal data to understand how youth mental health and substance use are evolving over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is critical to adjusting mental health response strategies. SETTING: Participants were recruited from among existing participants in studies conducted in an urban academic hospital in Ontario, Canada. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 619 youth aged 14-28 years participated in the study (62.7% girls/young women; 61.4% Caucasian). MEASURES: Data on mood, substance use and COVID-19-related worries were collected over four time points, that is, every 2 months beginning in the early stages of the pandemic in April 2020. Latent class analyses were conducted on the longitudinal data to identify distinct groups of youth who have different trajectory profiles of pandemic impact on their mood, substance use and COVID-19-related worries. RESULTS: For the majority of participants, mood concerns increased early in the pandemic, declined over Canada's summer months and subsequently increased in autumn. Among the youth with the highest level of mood symptoms at the beginning of the pandemic, increases in mental health concerns were sustained. Substance use remained relatively stable over the course of the pandemic. COVID-19-related worries, however, followed a trajectory similar to that of mood symptoms. Girls/young women, youth living in urban or suburban areas, in larger households, and with poorer baseline mental and physical health are the most vulnerable to mental health concerns and worries during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Youth mental health symptom levels and concerns are evolving over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with the evolution of the pandemic itself, and longitudinal monitoring is therefore required. It is also essential that we engage directly with youth to cocreate pandemic response strategies and mental health service adaptations to best meet the needs of young people.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Substance-Related Disorders , Adolescent , Female , Humans , Male , Mental Health , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology
20.
J Am Heart Assoc ; 10(21): e022330, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484156

ABSTRACT

Background Small observational studies have suggested that statin users have a lower risk of dying with COVID-19. We tested this hypothesis in a large, population-based cohort of adults in 2 of Canada's most populous provinces: Ontario and Alberta. Methods and Results We examined reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction swab positivity rates for SARS-CoV-2 in adults using statins compared with nonusers. In patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, we compared 30-day risk of all-cause emergency department visit, hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, or death in statin users versus nonusers, adjusting for baseline differences in demographics, clinical comorbidities, and prior health care use, as well as propensity for statin use. Between January and June 2020, 2.4% of 226 142 tested individuals aged 18 to 65 years, 2.7% of 88 387 people aged 66 to 75 years, and 4.1% of 154 950 people older than 75 years had a positive reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction swab for SARS-CoV-2. Compared with 353 878 nonusers, the 115 871 statin users were more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 (3.6% versus 2.8%, P<0.001), but this difference was not significant after adjustment for baseline differences and propensity for statin use in each age stratum (adjusted odds ratio 1.00 [95% CI, 0.88-1.14], 1.00 [0.91-1.09], and 1.06 [0.82-1.38], respectively). In individuals younger than 75 years with SARS-CoV-2 infection, statin users were more likely to visit an emergency department, be hospitalized, be admitted to the intensive care unit, or to die of any cause within 30 days of their positive swab result than nonusers, but none of these associations were significant after multivariable adjustment. In individuals older than 75 years with SARS-CoV-2, statin users were more likely to visit an emergency department (28.2% versus 17.9%, adjusted odds ratio 1.41 [1.23-1.61]) or be hospitalized (32.7% versus 21.9%, adjusted odds ratio 1.19 [1.05-1.36]), but were less likely to die (26.9% versus 31.3%, adjusted odds ratio 0.76 [0.67-0.86]) of any cause within 30 days of their positive swab result than nonusers. Conclusions Compared with statin nonusers, patients taking statins exhibit the same risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and those younger than 75 years exhibit similar outcomes within 30 days of a positive test. Patients older than 75 years with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test and who were taking statins had more emergency department visits and hospitalizations, but exhibited lower 30-day all-cause mortality risk.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors/adverse effects , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Alberta/epidemiology , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Male , Middle Aged , Ontario/epidemiology , Prospective Studies
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