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More women are contracting COVID-19

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

While many have been focused on the fact COVID-19 has affected seniors more than others, one group has gone by the wayside: women.

According to the region’s website, of the 1,266 cases of COVID-19 in Durham, 63 per cent, or 798 of the cases are women.

However, according to Durham Region Health Department spokesperson Glendene Collins, a team of epidemiologists have looked at the data and found there is a reason.

“A very high level look at the data shows that in areas where we are seeing higher case numbers, such as long-term care homes, more long-term care residents tend to be female, and staff of long-term care homes, such as personal support workers and nurses, also tend to be female,” she says.

Collins explains part of the reason there are more women in long-term care homes is simple – on average women live longer.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2017 the average life expectancy for women was 83-years-old, compared to 79 for men.

She also notes women are more commonly found in certain fields which would have more contact with COVID-19 patients.

For example, according to the Canadian Nurses Association, in 2018 there were 431,769 registered nurses in Canada. Of these nurses, 389,648 of them were women, compared to 37,636 men.

At the time, male nurses accounted for approximately 9.5 per cent of the countries nursing population.

According to Collins, frontline staff dealing with an outbreak have seen 84 per cent of cases belonging to women, 64 per cent for long-term care home residents, and 55 per cent of cases which come from contact with someone testing positive.

However, of those who contracted the virus while traveling, 56 per cent are male, and community transmission has seen 54 per cent of cases belonging to males.