Sixth wave | The effect is felt in the ER

Emergency rooms are packed this Easter weekend. Authorities are urging Quebecers to avoid going there as much as possible.

Updated yesterday at 23:50

Lea Carrier

Lea Carrier
Press

COVID-19 continues to hit the network hard.

In the Montreal metropolitan area, the various integrated health and social services centers (CIUSSS) have reported heavy traffic. They asked people to see a pharmacist or call the Info-Santé line at 811 for minor problems, instead of going to a hospital.

In emergencies, the sixth wave is there, says D.r Bernard Mathieu, an emergency physician at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. “It’s very clear,” he says.

Just a month ago, I was seeing almost no more cases of COVID-19. “We thought it was all over,” says the Dr Mathieu.

Then last Wednesday, his service admitted a dozen people hospitalized with COVID-19. Patients who normally would have been brought upstairs, but who, due to lack of beds, are crowding the emergency rooms. “It’s a lot, compared to the other waves,” the emergency doctor worries.

Quebec on Saturday reported 19 more virus-related deaths and 22 fewer hospitalizations across the province. In total, 2,131 Quebecers with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized.

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There are 9 more patients in intensive care than on Friday, or 105 in total.

An additional 2,538 cases were reported in the province in Saturday’s count. Remember that these numbers probably only reflect a portion of total infections, due to limited access to PCR testing.

13,000 absent health workers

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, said this Friday that he is concerned that 13,000 health workers are missing due to COVID-19 and anticipated that “that [allait] it will be difficult in the emergency room in the next two weeks”, but that the network would stand firm.

With “only seven or eight” employees currently absent from the Maisonneuve-Rosemont emergency room, the Dr Bernard Mathieu considers himself lucky. “We are probably in a favorable situation compared to other hospitals,” he believes.

On Friday, the CIUSSS de l’Outaouais announced the temporary suspension of visits until further notice in the seven hospitals in the region. Those of Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Chaudière-Appalaches had to reduce certain services in one or several establishments.

Several CIUSSS recalled some precautionary advice, in particular to avoid large Easter gatherings. They recommend that people leave windows open for air circulation and stay home if they experience symptoms of COVID-19, such as fatigue or a sore throat.

With Mayssa Ferah, Press

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