1) As #COVID19 continues to spread across Quebec — causing outbreaks in schools and bars — the province’s health-care system remains more vulnerable than ever. In this thread, I will highlight the latest problems to hit acute-care hospitals in the #pandemic.
2) Over the weekend, the Hôpital de Gatineau suspended its intensive-care service following a sit-in protest by burned out nurses on Friday. This has occurred as the Outaouais region has been recording slightly more #COVID19 cases than during the first wave in the #pandemic.
3) Emergency-room nurses also staged a sit-in at the Hôpital du Suroît on Thursday in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. The hospital responded by taking the nurses’ union to the Quebec labor tribunal to have the sit-in declared an illegal pressure tactic.
4) On Saturday, ER nurses at the Lakeshore General Hospital in Pointe-Claire staged their second sit-in in a week to draw attention to what they say are unacceptable working conditions during the #pandemic. On Sunday night, the ER was overflowing to 123% of its capacity.
5) Nurses often staged sit-ins before the #pandemic to complain about mandatory overtime, which the Coalition Avenir Québec pledged to abolish in the last election campaign. But sit-ins during the current health crisis underscore the system's fragility amid a #COVID19 resurgence.
6) In Montreal, 800 nurses have quit since March, further weakening the health network as it seeks to clear a backlog of tens of thousands of surgeries. People are also walking around with cancers they don’t even realize they have because of missed diagnoses during the #pandemic.
7) Should the current #COVID resurgence cause a spike in hospitalizations, as it did in the first wave, Quebec’s health infrastructure would quickly become overwhelmed. On Sunday, the province reported a relatively small net increase of 22 hospitalizations since a week earlier.
8) Quebec’s rolling seven-day average of #COVID19 cases rose to 25.08 cases per million Sunday from 23.84 the day before. The Shaker bar-restaurant and adjoining Taverne 666 in Rimouski (they share a bathroom) declared an outbreak Sunday. Yet bars remain open all over Quebec.
9) Meanwhile, the cumulative number of schools where at least one student or teacher tested positive for the #coronavirus rose to 252 Sunday night from 245 earlier the same day, according to covidecolesquebec.org. Two Quebec City elementary schools have declared outbreaks.
10) Perhaps it’s now time for the Education Ministry to give the province’s overcrowded public schools what they’ve been asking for: the right to require that their students wear masks in classrooms, as is currently the case in Ontario and the city of Edmonton.
11) Meanwhile, Montreal posted 57 #COVID cases on Sunday, up from 55 the day before, as the orange line in the chart below shows. The city, which is expected to be revised to a yellow pre-alert Monday, reported a seven-day average of 24.39 cases per million, the same as Saturday.
12) At the neighborhood level in the metropolis, the hitherto #COVID19 hot spot of Montreal North observed an uptick of a dozen cases Sunday. The health district of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel also counted cases in the double digits, as the chart below makes clear.
13) Since July, I’ve argued in this nightly Twitter thread that authorities should renew public-health restrictions to lower community transmission of the #coronavirus for the sake of our schools. This is true. But it should also be done to protect our hospitals. End of thread.

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More from @Aaron_Derfel

29 Sep
1) Three months after reopening bars in the #pandemic, Premier François Legault is closing them again in the greater Montreal area and two other regions. He said he's doing so for the sake of our schools. In this thread, I'll suggest what more needs to be done to protect schools.
2) In placing Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Apallaches on red alert, Legault imposed a series of new restrictions. But he spoke of no new measures to shield the province’s more than 3,000 public and private schools from #COVID19. That must change quickly.
3) The experience of other countries is demonstrating that schools can become major sources of #COVID19 outbreaks. In France, one-third of new clusters under investigation have been traced to schools and universities. Image
Read 12 tweets
28 Sep
1) The Résidence Herron nursing home, where staff deserted the elderly occupants early in the #pandemic last March, went into lockdown again Sunday after an employee tested positive for #COVID19. In this thread, I will examine the impact of the second wave on eldercare centres. Image
2) Unlike last March, the Herron now has a full complement of staff. None of the residents has tested positive for the #coronavirus, but all are back in their rooms as a precaution. Still, #COVID19 outbreaks have flared up in 18 other eldercare homes in the province.
3) In the past 24 hours alone, a total of two dozen residents of long-term care centres and seniors’ residents have contracted #COVID19 across Quebec: in Laval, Pointe-Claire, Saint-Eustache, Saint-Jérôme, Brossard, La Tuque and in the Gaspé.
Read 10 tweets
27 Sep
1) Quebec’s top public health officer is asserting that during the #pandemic, the province has been hit harder than the rest of Canada partly because a more “invasive” and “lethal” strain of the #coronavirus is circulating here. In this thread, I will fact-check this assertion.
2) Dr. Horacio Arruda offered this explanation when asked by a reporter Friday why Quebec is still reporting more #COVID19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths than other provinces, even after the first wave. Arruda cited a study of the #coronavirus in his answer.
3) “There was a study done on the virus that entered Quebec," @ArrudaHoracio explained. "It’s different from the one that was in China. (This strain) came more from Europe and has a morbidity and mortality rate that is much more significant.”
Read 13 tweets
26 Sep
1) Quebec posted 637 #COVID cases Friday — a number not seen since the #pandemic's first wave — placing the entire greater Montreal region in an orange zone. Yet authorities won't impose any of their own proposed public health restrictions. In this thread, I will highlight them.
2) On Sept. 17, the government made public a previously secret “working document” on #pandemic restrictions the day after analyst @Patrickdery published them on Twitter (scooping me). The summary lists “potential” restrictions in a color-coded alert scale. See the chart below.
3) According to that chart, the government would have closed bars, taverns and casinos by now in the orange zones. Contact sports and competitions would have been banned. People would not have been allowed to eat in restaurants. But none of those restrictions have been imposed.
Read 13 tweets
25 Sep
1) Just before the start of the academic year, Ontario’s #COVID19 science advisory panel warned “children could play a relevant role in SARS-CoV-2 transmission.” In this thread, I will call upon Quebec to implement more aggressive measures to protect students in schools.
2) The expert panel suggested that school closures during the first wave “may have been important contributors to the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.” This does not mean I’m recommending closing schools again.
3) But perhaps the school environment itself — with packed classrooms and some students not maintaining #PhysicalDistancing or wearing masks — can lead to #COVID19 outbreaks. Certainly, that has happened in at least 14 schools in Montreal.
Read 13 tweets
24 Sep
1) Despite the fact that Quebec and Montreal have entered the second wave in the #pandemic, Premier François Legault has maintained that hospitalizations are tracking with optimistic projections made in June. In this thread, I will fact-check this.
2) Since Sept. 1, the province has witnessed a net increase of 69 #COVID hospitalizations, averaging three a day. Compared with scores of hospitalizations reported during the first wave, that number is relatively low. But how does it compare with the projections?
3) In the chart below, the optimistic scenario projected a median of just under 2.5 hospitalizations a day in September. Thus, the current average is at least 20% higher than the government's projections. There’s been a net increase of 40 hospitalizations in the past three days.
Read 11 tweets

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