“The impacts are enormous”: Quebec hospitals pushed to their limits as coronavirus patients increase


Quebec Premier François Legault thanked Quebeckers on Monday for respecting the province’s nighttime curfew, which began over the weekend.
“I was very impressed to see the solidarity of Quebecers who overwhelmingly respected the curfew this weekend,” Legault said at a press conference Monday.

He also thanked the officers for their work in applying the new measures announced last week as the province grapples with a worsening health crisis.

“We asked them to give fewer warnings and more fines,” he said.

“We cannot accept that a few irresponsible people put the population at risk.”

Overall, Legault said police distributed 740 tickets province-wide, with fines ranging from $ 1,000 to $ 6,000.

The prime minister argued that the curfew was necessary to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus amid an increase in hospitalizations and COVID-19-related deaths linked to the virus.

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On Monday, hospitalizations from the new coronavirus increased from 56 to 1,436. Of those patients, 211 are in intensive care, an increase of eight.

Legault described the situation in Quebec hospitals as “critical”, especially in the Montreal region.

The Assistant Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Lucie Opartny, agreed with the Prime Minister, saying that the health system is under enormous pressure.

The number of hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 has almost doubled in the greater Montreal area since mid-December, from 472 on December 11 to 1,071 on Sunday.

Opartny said most hospitals are overwhelmed and have already done what they can to reduce the pressure by postponing appointments and canceling elective surgeries.

Other activities that have been set aside, in whole or in part, include semi-urgent surgeries, colonoscopies for colon cancer screening, kidney transplants from living donors except for pediatric patients and non-medical consultations. urgent in specialized clinics.

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“The impacts are huge,” Opartny said, adding that the problems are compounded by a lack of staff.

She warned that the tension was so high that it was becoming difficult for some hospitals to perform emergency surgeries and provide cancer treatments.

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“If the trend continues, there may be too many patients in intensive care, whether it’s COVID-19 or other illnesses and illnesses,” she said. “It would force the network to make even more difficult decisions than it already is.”

Dr. François De Champlain, an emergency physician at the McGill University Health Center, said the situation was terrible.

“Right now trainings are taking place in all hospitals with this great document that we have all received of over 60 pages highlighting some of the tools we might have to use in deciding who receives for example certain invasive treatments or a intensive care bed for example, ”he said.

“Never in our career has any health worker, even front line worker, thought of being in this situation where they would have to make choices and essentially practice disaster medicine.

Although De Champlain has said the MUHC is not there yet, things can change quickly.

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The accumulating delays in services could linger for months, if not years, according to Opartny, who reiterated the prime minister’s calls for adherence to public health guidelines.

“The first reason to continue all our efforts is to help our health workers, the other is to reduce the number of deaths,” said Legault.

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Legault also stressed the need to protect people over the age of 65 who are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

“If we work together to avoid contact with people aged 65 and over, we will solve much of the problem,” he said.

According to Legault, 80% of COVID-19 patients are over 65 and account for 95% of COVID-related deaths.

“I ask Quebeckers to limit their contacts with them as much as possible,” he said. “We are in the last kilometers of our marathon, now is not the time to give up.”

Deployment of vaccines on time

Click to read the video 'Coronavirus: Quebec is on track to vaccinate 250,000 people by February 8'

Coronavirus: Quebec on track to vaccinate 250,000 people by February 8

Coronavirus: Quebec on track to vaccinate 250,000 people by February 8

Premier and Minister Heatlh Christian Dubé said the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine in the province was going smoothly.

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So far, the province has administered 80%. 100 of the doses she received.

More than half of residents in long-term care facilities, which are high on the government’s immunization priority list, have been vaccinated. Vaccination of staff working in nursing homes is also underway and Dubé estimates that they will all have received a dose within the next two weeks.

The province expects to be able to meet its goal of 250,000 people vaccinated by February 8 if the federal government delivers the required doses as promised, Dubé said.

Dubé also addressed the issue of postponing the second dose of the vaccine, saying discussions were underway between public health, vaccine makers and the national commission.

Last week, the government announced that it would no longer reserve a second dose of the vaccine, preferring to vaccinate as many people as possible with a first dose.

Pfizer recommends a 21-day period between doses, while Moderna recommends 28 days.

Dubé said that in his various scenarios, the second dose could be postponed for up to three months.

“We are monitoring this very closely,” Dubé said of the ongoing talks, adding that a decision on when to proceed with the second doses is yet to come.

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