1) Quebec released its most detailed stats to date Monday on the #pandemic's impact on schools. The picture is not a reassuring one, with at least 144 classrooms shut down as of Sept. 11 due to #COVID19. In this thread, I will try to explain what this means for kids and teachers.
2) The chart below reveals that a total of 217 students have tested positive for the #coronavirus since the start of the school year. Of that number, nearly 88% study in the province’s packed public schools. However, it should be noted the province has far fewer private ones.
3) In addition, a total of 66 school employees — many of them teachers — have screened positive for the virus as well. At this stage, it’s likely that most students and teachers contracted the #coronavirus in the community, but outbreaks are now occurring in schools, too.
4) On Monday morning, a #COVID19 outbreak at the Séminaire Salésien forced the closure of a class in the Eastern Townships. Two classes were also shut down at the Deux-Soleils elementary school in Magog. And two Quebec City schools reported outbreaks Friday.
5) My analysis of #COVID19 stats by age group shows that the demographic that has observed the sharpest percentage increase in cases has comprised elementary and high school students. This group, aged 10-to-19, recorded a 14.63% spike in positive tests since Aug. 22.
6) A total of 486 students in this group tested positive. That compares with 852 in the 20-to-29 age group, which represents the highest increase as an absolute number of all demographics. But its percentage increase was 9.6, well below that of the 10-to-19 demographic.
7) So what does this all mean? Certainly, more children and teens are being tested for #COVID19 than ever before, leading to more positive results. At the same time, however, schools are struggling with clusters of cases, and outbreaks are flaring up in communities across Quebec.
8) What’s more, the government update lists a total of 172 affected schools. That compares with at least 280 where at least a school employee or student tested positive as of Monday night, according to covidecolesquebec.org. In Montreal, at least 69 schools have been impacted.
9) The situation in schools isn’t occurring in a vacuum. Quebec’s rolling seven-day average rose to 26.10 cases per million inhabitants Monday from 25.08 Sunday. A third Quebec City bar, Pub X, confirmed an outbreak as the capital declared 60 new #COVID cases, more than Montreal.
10) Despite precautions imposed on bars, outbreaks have continued in drinking establishments, with those in Quebec City being blamed for the spread of the #coronavirus among high school students. Wouldn’t it be the prudent thing now to close bars for the sake of our children?
11) Many Quebec schools have lead in their water. Some schools are so dilapidated that they have mold and asbestos in them. Proper ventilation is also a problem. In the context of the #pandemic, wouldn’t it now make sense to require students to wear masks in class? End of thread.

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More from @Aaron_Derfel

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. Image
Read 11 tweets
23 Sep
1) Health Minister Christian Dubé admitted Tuesday Quebec is having a hard time retracing #COVID19 contacts as the province enters a second wave in the #pandemic. In this thread, I will appeal to the government to authorize the use of Health Canada's COVID Alert notification app.
2) An online consultation commissioned by the government found that 77% of Quebecers believed such an app would be useful, and 75% said they would install it on their smart phones. Yet despite the overwhelming public approval, the government won’t use it.
3) Ontario Health Minister Doug Ford has urged neighboring Quebec to authorize the app. Federal health minister Patty Hajdu has asked Quebec to use it. Quebecers want the app. Yet on Tuesday, even as Dubé declared Laval and the Outaouais to be orange zones, he ruled out using it.
Read 10 tweets
22 Sep
1) Authorities confirmed Monday what many suspected: Montreal is now in a second wave with 53 #COVID19 outbreaks. In this thread, I’ll call for more restrictions to lower viral transmission in a city that appears to again have become the epicenter of the #pandemic in Canada.
2) The rapidity of the spread of the #coronavirus in Montreal cannot be overstated. In a just week, the number of #COVID19 outbreaks in city schools has doubled to 14, including at Herzliah High, which has closed until Oct. 5. Outbreaks have also hit 28 workplaces.
3) What’s more, clusters of #COVID19 cases have been observed in two daycares and six eldercare homes. Young workers appear to be driving the transmission of the highly contagious pathogen, a much different situation than during the first wave.
Read 11 tweets
21 Sep
1) Seven weeks after Quebec allowed public gatherings of 250 people in the #pandemic despite physicians' objections, it took a massive #COVID19 resurgence to finally persuade the government Sunday to reverse that decision. In this thread, I'll suggest what more needs to be done.
2) Although authorities are now limiting most public gatherings to 50 people, going down to 25 in the newly-created orange zones of Montreal, Chaudière-Appalaches and part of the Capitale-Nationale, not a single restriction was imposed on schools.
3) Health Minister Christian Dubé even went so far as to frame as good news that extracurricular activities will be maintained after school. Yet a half hour later, Education Minister Jean-François Roberge announced the second school closing in the province because of #COVID19.
Read 10 tweets
19 Sep
1) Major #COVID19 outbreaks are erupting again in seniors’ residences — mostly in two regions of Quebec — as the province posted on Saturday its highest daily total of new cases since the end of May. In this thread, I'll try to explain the worrisome situation in eldercare homes. Image
2) Within the last 24 hours, five outbreaks have been declared in seniors’ residences (RPAs) in the Quebec City area and Chaudière-Appalaches. The worst cluster of #COVID19 infections is occurring in the Résidence La Belle Époque, with two dozen new cases in the past day. Image
3) Please let me make an observation that I’ve noted for a while but will only now make: the #pandemic is now hitting RPA eldercare homes harder than long-term care centres (CHSLDs), where the government has just assigned a massive number of newly-trained orderlies.
Read 10 tweets

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