New data from Statistics Canada compiled in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic shows a large share of Canadians with medical pre-conditions placing them at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19. (Black Press Media files)

New data from Statistics Canada compiled in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic shows a large share of Canadians with medical pre-conditions placing them at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19. (Black Press Media files)

Older Canadians with pre-existing health pre-conditions more at risk of developing complications from COVID-19

According to Statistics Canada, 38 per cent of the Canadian population was aged 50 and older in 2019

New data from Statistics Canada compiled in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic shows a large share of Canadians with medical pre-conditions who are at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19.

The report from Statistics Canada assessing health and social challenges associated with the COVID-19 situation in Canada finds 33 per cent of Canadians aged 50 and older reported having high blood pressure, 14 per cent reported having diabetes, and five per cent reported having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has identified individuals with certain pre-existing health conditions and weaker immune systems as being more at risk of developing complications from COVID-19. According to PHAC’s daily epidemiological reports, the most commonly reported pre-existing health conditions among cases included cardiac disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease.

The new data from Statistics Canada also underscores the importance of age, as PHAC has identified older people as more likely to be at risk for developing complications from COVID-19. They are also more likely to report the pre-existing health conditions listed above.

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According to Statistics Canada, 38 per cent of the Canadian population was aged 50 and older in 2019 with this share varying by province and territory. According to Statistics Canada’s annual demographic estimates, the province with the oldest population was Newfoundland and Labrador, where 46 per cent of people were aged 50 and older. That figure was over 40 per cent in all three Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick) and in Quebec, the COVID-19 hotspot in Canada with 8,580 cases, just over 50 per cent of all confirmed cases in Canada as of April 7.

PHAC’s daily epidemiological report for April 6 based on 56 per cent of reported cases shows 35 per cent of cases were aged 40 to 59 years, followed by those aged 20 to 39 (28 per cent) and 60-79 years of age (24 per cent).

Hospitalization data for 4,616 cases with completed case report forms show 702 have been hospitalized, including 204 in intensive care units (ICUs).

While 32 per cent of these hospitalized cases are 60 years of age and older, this age group represents the highest proportion of hospitalizations (61 per cent) and ICU admissions (60 per cent).

Individuals under the age of 19 account for nine hospitalizations and one admission to ICU.

As of April 7, the PHAC recorded 345 deaths.


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