Study on blood donors suggests more than 120,000 Quebecers have been infected with COVID-19

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A study of recent blood donors suggests that three times more Quebecers could have been infected with the new coronavirus than what official figures reflect.The study, conducted by Héma-Québec in collaboration with the National Institute of Public Health, confirmed that 2.23% of the 7,691 people who gave blood between May 25 and July 9 had contracted COVID-19.

From the sample data, the study extrapolates that 124,880 Quebecers aged 18 to 69 had been infected between the start of the pandemic and the beginning of July. During the same period, the study notes that the Quebec Ministry of Health had registered fewer than 40,000 Quebecers aged 20 to 69 as confirmed cases.

As of Tuesday, there were 59,845 confirmed cases, of all ages, in the province.

Blood samples from people living in Montreal and Laval, where the majority of confirmed cases in Quebec have been detected, were the most likely to show signs of COVID-19, at 3.05%.

But proportionally, almost as many donors in the Mauricie-Center-du-Québec region were also found to be infected, roughly three times the region’s infection rate.

The study was conducted by analyzing blood samples for COVID-19 antibodies, which help the body fight disease. This is different from COVID-19 tests, which determine whether a person is currently infected.

This is one of several studies being conducted in Canada to help determine the extent of infection in the country and to measure potential immunity to the virus.

In Ontario, a study analyzing blood samples taken in June found that 1.1% of the province’s population had been infected.

A national study of blood samples conducted by Canadian Blood Services and the Canadian COVID-19 Immunity Working Group found that less than one percent of samples contained antibodies to COVID-19.

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