The increase in hospitalizations for COVID could continue for another two weeks and have effects on “the supply of services” in the health network, the interim national director of public health, Dr. Luc Boileau, declared this Friday.
He once again called on Quebecers to make a “collective vigilance effort”, recalling that “the risks are currently on the side of the most vulnerable people”, especially those aged 70 and over.
“Our projections rather show that the wave will continue, globally for all of Quebec, for two weeks,” Dr. Boileau said. He added that current projections do not point to an increase in hospitalizations of the magnitude seen in January. “However, there is nothing that is impossible,” the expert stressed.
The resurgence of infections, as well as the absence of more than 13,000 workers in the health network, could further strain hospitals and elsewhere in the health and social services network, Dr. Boileau acknowledged.
No new measures
However, Public Health does not plan to impose new measures to stop the spread of the virus. As Easter approaches, authorities have said they trust Quebecers to make “the right decisions” – isolating themselves if they have symptoms, for example.
As of Friday, the increase in cases continued in the Montreal metropolitan area, in Outaouais, Estrie, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Capitale-Nationale, Chaudière-Appalaches, Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec. . In Gaspésie, Îles-de-la-Madeleine and the North Shore, “it appears to be leveling off at the moment, but trends remain uncertain,” said Dr Boileau.
To improve the accuracy of rapid COVID-19 tests, Public Health now encourages Quebecers to take the sample in the mouth, between the gum and the cheek, behind the tongue, and then in the nostrils.
“Omicron is a virus that preferentially attacks the upper respiratory tract and we know that with a little saliva […]it slightly increases the sensitivity of the test,” explained Dr. Jean Longtin, a microbiologist and clinical expert at the Ministry of Health.
Dr. Boileau apologizes
Dr. Boileau also prepared, at a press conference, the vaccination portrait of people who recently died of COVID-19. These are “for the most part” old and vaccinated. “And that’s normal, because the vaccine is not 100% effective,” he said. Still, “if we didn’t have vaccinated populations as they are, we would have enormous devastation,” he said.
Unvaccinated patients continue to die of COVID-19, Dr. Boileau also detailed. These have “between ten and 15 times more risk” of developing complications, being hospitalized in intensive care or dying, he listed.
The public health specialist said he was sensitive to deaths attributable to COVID-19. In particular, to this sensitivity he attributed the statements he made on Wednesday in parliamentary committee on the bill that ends the state of health emergency.
Dr. Boileau then declared that by abruptly ending the state of health emergency, “we are going to kill people.” He apologized on Friday for his claim. “I’m sorry I used those words, it was inappropriate and I apologize for that,” he dropped.
The doctor explained that he was trying to highlight the risks associated with reduced testing and vaccination capacity. He also stated that he wanted to highlight “the risks of weakening” the health network by removing the levers that allow the use of volunteers from the JeContribue initiative.
” [Qu]we raise the emergency [sanitaire], we understand that, we agree with that. But to say that we remove all the other measures and that it is over, we are not there, we cannot do that, there are too many risks for the population, we are not going to be able to protect, ”he said. .