Analysis: Quebec numbers on COVID-19 hospitalizations do not add up

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On National Day, Quebec announced that it was switching from daily bulletins to weekly bulletins on COVID-19 cases, just before the resurgence. Two days later, Health Minister Christian Dubé announced a return to daily updates following a public outcry.

But the information blunders continued. The Montreal public health department provided daily statistics on the number of outbreaks in bars during the second week of July, but then stopped releasing the data without explanation on July 16.

Since Monday, the local health service has not published daily neighborhood repairs due to “technical difficulties”. It also hasn’t released its weekly update on community transmission of the coronavirus. The National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ) has also stopped disclosing its regional updates.

And the McGill University Health Center has not released its internal update on hospitalizations for Thursday and Friday due to an “administrative oversight.”

Such information blunders do not inspire confidence as the government prepares to increase the size of public gatherings from 50 to 250 on Monday. Montreal orthopedic surgeon David Zukor launched an online petition on Thursday urging the government to revoke permission for large gatherings.

As of Friday evening, more than 1,300 people, many of whom were medical professionals, signed the petition.

The larger context is that the highly contagious coronavirus is spreading throughout Quebec in multiple contexts, including day camps, hockey rinks, liquor stores, bars, parties and between families. In a tweet Friday afternoon, Dubé pointed out that 66.3% of cases in Quebec are linked to community and family transmission.

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