Sixth wave of COVID-19: no watchword for the long leave

Despite the continued increase in hospitalizations, Public Health is relying on individuals to decide whether they wish to gather as a family during the long Easter holiday.

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Unlike previous waves, there is no question of imposing a maximum number of guests or restrictions.

The Director of Public Health, Dr.r Luc Boileau, calls for caution, but refuses to make formal recommendations.

Quebec has entered a new phase of the pandemic, where citizens know their “own risk”, he explains. “So we don’t want to standardize that by saying, no more than so many people, etc. Let alone tell people not to see each other at Easter. It’s a party that is important, it’s an opportunity to reunite, but to do it carefully, “said the Dr Boileau.

He reminds us that we must avoid being in contact with a person who has symptoms of COVID-19 now or for less than 10 days. Also, older, immunosuppressed or sick people are more at risk, he points out.

We are therefore far from the restrictions imposed at the same time last year, when curfews were imposed in the regions of Montreal, Laval, the Capitale-Nationale, Chaudière-Appalaches and the Outaouais.

Different situation

With 2,060 hospitalizations, Quebec is nevertheless facing a health network “under pressure”, recognizes the Dr Luc Boileau.

But the situation is not the same as last December, when Quebec imposed a new curfew with some 1,000 beds occupied. “The big difference, currently, is that we have a population that is well vaccinated, explains the Dr Boileau. Not everyone is vaccinated, but people at risk are frankly well vaccinated.

  • Listen to Geneviève Pettersen’s interview with Joseph Dahine, intensive care physician at the Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital, on QUB radio:

Also, the population is more accustomed to managing the pandemic themselves, by voluntarily placing themselves in isolation as soon as symptoms appear. And the numerous infections of the last few months have brought a “herd immunity”, underlines the Dr Boileau.

Last December, projections for the number of hospitalizations also predicted a significant increase in hospitalizations, which turned out, while the National Institute for Excellence in Health and Social Services reported on Wednesday 2,339 occupied beds. two weeks here.

With or for COVID?

In addition, nearly half of the 2,060 people currently hospitalized have not been admitted for COVID-19. The virus was discovered, sometimes by chance, after the person presented for childbirth, a broken hip or some other reason.

Prime Minister François Legault also used this distinction on Wednesday to put the number of current hospitalizations into perspective. “There are half of them, hospitalizations, these are people with COVID, they are not in the hospital for COVID,” he said in the morning.

But the Dr Boileau recalls that these cases remain demanding for the health network. “They are forced to be isolated to avoid contact with other beneficiaries, to also prevent employees from catching it,” he recalls.

All this, not to mention that 12,700 employees are currently missing in the health network.

Load shedding is still a reality in our hospitals, which can perform only 70% of the number of surgeries performed in normal times.

flu season

Quebec will also have to deal with a new tile: the flu (influenza) is making its late arrival, an “unusual” situation in April. “We would have done without it, but we will live with it”, launched the Dr Boileau.

In Europe, where the flu season started a few weeks ago, influenza has caused pressure on the first line, without however having a significant impact on hospitalizations, explained the microbiologist and expert doctor from the MSSS, the Dr John Longin.

New vaccine

However, health authorities had good news for people who cannot receive a messenger RNA vaccine, or who refuse one. Novavax’s protein-based vaccine is now available in Quebec.

Some 7,500 doses have been received to date and Quebec expects a total of 220,000 doses.

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