Fearing increase in COVID-19 cases after riots, experts urge Habs fans to celebrate safely – .

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Fearing increase in COVID-19 cases after riots, experts urge Habs fans to celebrate safely – .


MONTREAL – Habs fans caused quite a stir after the team’s sixth game on Thursday. The next morning, some raised concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 in the crowd.

“Obviously I was also happy with the results of the game (Thursday),” said Dr. Jesse Papenburg, MUHC infectious disease specialist. “But I have to say I’m a little concerned about these types of mass gatherings. “

Montreal only reported 30 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, a continuation of a downward trend in infections in the city.

Still, the virus remains active, especially among 10- to 40-year-olds, most of whom have not yet been fully vaccinated. Experts fear that the continuation of the celebrations could lead to an increase in infections.

“The first dose of vaccine does (provides protection), but especially against the variants, we know the second dose is really important,” Papenburg said.

Only 24% of eligible Quebecers have been fully vaccinated and only 6% of those under 29.

“So there is an opportunity within this particular age group for transmission if someone in that group has been infected. “

Additionally, video from the post-game party shows people are not following distancing guidelines. A significant portion of the crowd was also seen without a mask.

Even outdoors, Papenburg says this kind of party “does a lot for viral transmission.”

“We saw outbreaks in environments outside of Montreal during the third wave,” he said.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has spoken out in favor of a cautious celebration as fans prepare for the playoff finals.

She said she was “excited” by the idea of ​​increasing the capacity inside the Bell Center, but her administration is working with the team to find other ways to look.

“I would love to have more (people) at the Bell Center, but I’m also interested in Montrealers watching the game away from home,” the mayor said on Friday, offering the possibility of multiple outdoor viewing locations , for example.

Even after Montreal entered the green zone on Monday, public health kept its indoor seating limit at 3,500 people in indoor stadiums across Quebec.

Montreal Public Health told CTV News in a statement that it does not object to people celebrating in upcoming games, if it is safe to do so.

“The desire to come together and encourage our team is legitimate,” the statement read. “However, despite the decrease in the number of cases, the virus is still circulating, especially the Delta variant, which is much more contagious. “

“Until we reach the targeted vaccination coverage (2 doses), large gatherings and events conducive to super-transmission should be avoided,” he continued.

“We encourage the population to support the Montreal Canadiens in small groups, in outdoor venues, and to keep their distance.”

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