1) With #COVID19 cases rising for the past four days, it may be premature to draw the conclusion that the second wave is plateauing in Quebec, as Premier François Legault suggests. In this thread, I will call for a more rapid response to contact tracing. montrealgazette.com/news/local-new…
2) The latest #COVID19 surge suggests there are limits to the government’s partial lockdown. In its #pandemic projections released Friday, Quebec’s public health institute warned that current measures are not enough to prevent a spike in hospitalizations. So what is the solution?
3) Certainly, the solution isn’t to proceed with the yo-yo rhythm of easing #pandemic restrictions, only to reimpose a partial lockdown for months to come until a #COVID19 vaccine becomes widely available. I'm told Health Minister Christian Dubé is wary of the yo-yo effect, too.
4) This pivotal moment in the #pandemic calls for a two-pronged strategy: settling on a certain number of restrictions (like keeping bars closed) and sticking with them. But that’s not enough. Quebec’s #COVID19 testing strategy must be revised to quickly contain outbreaks.
5) The Health Minister has talked about deploying a new technology of low-volume but fast-processing #COVID19 testing in regions in the coming weeks. It’s become clear this technology should be used instead to quash outbreaks rapidly, allowing for faster retracing of contacts.
6) In the commentary below, policy analyst @Patrickdery draws attention to South Korea’s much-lauded response to the #pandemic. Months ago in a couple of Twitter threads, I urged Quebec to follow South Korea’s example. That appeal is more urgent than ever. plus.lapresse.ca/screens/0b7c25…
7) Realistically, it’s unlikely Quebec would be able to implement South Korea’s tracking technology, especially given the government’s initial reluctance to adopt Health Canada’s #COVIDAlert notification app. But Quebec could prioritize the rollout of a rapid testing strategy.
8) Meanwhile, Montreal posted 291 #COVID19 cases Saturday from 250 the day before. The city’s seven-day average inched up to 128 infections per million population from 127 the previous day. The jagged orange line in the chart below appears to be resisting going down for now.
9) At the neighborhood level, the #COVID19 hot spots in the metropolis remain in the centre of the city, including Côte-des-Neiges, downtown Métro, Parc-Extension and Outremont, as well as the east end. But also take note that there are lots of cases now on the West Island.
10) Finally, Montreal added one #COVID19 fatality to a monumental death toll of 3,507, higher than those of 156 other nations and territories. Such sorrowful stats are a call for action to spur swifter testing and tracing. End of thread. Please stay safe, everyone.

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More from @Aaron_Derfel

20 Oct
1) Nearly two weeks after Montreal public health officials disclosed a major #COVID19 outbreak at a seniors’ residence on Sherbrooke St. E., this cluster of cases still hasn’t appeared in the government’s daily updates. In this thread, I will note this is not the only omission.
2) Dr. Mylène Drouin, of the health department, had confirmed that the outbreak at Les Résidences Soleil Manoir Plaza infected 28, hospitalized six and killed one. However, only three cases are currently listed at the seniors’ facility and no deaths, according to Monday’s update. Image
3) Lest anyone dismiss this as an isolated incident, credit goes to Radio-Canada’s @ThomasGerbet for exposing information gaffes involving at least six other seniors’ residences and long-term care centres. Two outbreaks were absent from the updates. ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/17422…
Read 9 tweets
18 Oct
1) During the #pandemic's second wave, Quebec is calculating #COVID19 deaths differently, focusing on fatalities in the past 24 hours of each day. Following the numbers this way could result in undercounting the actual tally. In this thread, I will explain why this is a problem.
2) If one were to add up the daily #COVID19 deaths declared by Quebec since Oct. 1, the sum would reach 60 as of Sunday. But the province is adding deaths retroactively every day in a series of complicated updates. In fact, the total number of deaths since Oct. 1 is at least 169.
3) Perhaps that’s why it came as a shock to many that Quebec crossed the 6,000-death threshold last week, as the daily updates first report relatively low numbers in the previous 24 hours and then add deaths retroactively only days later. It’s very hard to track deaths this way.
Read 10 tweets
17 Oct
1) Nearly three weeks after Quebec imposed a partial lockdown in the #pandemic, #COVID19 outbreaks are nonetheless multiplying across the province in a wider range of settings. In this thread, I will elaborate on the growing clusters of cases in the second wave.
2) Twenty employees at the Davie shipyard in Lévis have contracted #COVID19. In Trois Rivières, a guard and an inmate have tested positive for the #coronavirus at a detention centre. In Laval, a tennis club has closed temporarily after two outbreaks infecting at least 30 people.
3) On Friday, McDonald’s announced it’s shut three Montreal-area restaurants after employees tested positive, raising the total number to five this week. A seniors’ residence in Saint-Charles Borromée reported 32 #COVID19 infections in the past 24 hours. montrealgazette.com/news/local-new…
Read 10 tweets
16 Oct
1) Quebec crossed a sombre milestone Thursday, declaring more than 6,000 deaths in the #pandemic, 15 more than all of Sweden, a nation with a population that is 1.7 million greater than the province’s. In this thread, I will highlight some other grim milestones.
2) Also Thursday, the province crossed the thousand-mark in the number of schools reporting either a student or teacher testing positive for the #coronavirus, according to covidecolesquebec.org. In some schools, there are so many cases officials can’t keep track of all of them.
3) Again on Thursday, Montreal crossed the 4,000-case milestone of new #coronavirus infections in just the past two weeks. That tally in the second wave represents nearly 11% of all of the city’s cases since the World Health Organization declared #COVID19 a #pandemic on March 11.
Read 9 tweets
15 Oct
1) In the past two weeks, the number of Quebec classrooms that have closed due to #COVID19 exposure has soared by 70%. Yet Premier François Legault has ruled out reducing class sizes. In this thread, I will examine the #pandemic’s impact on the educational system thus far.
2) The number of shuttered classes climbed to 1,075 on Oct.13 from 631 on Sept. 30. The number of active #COVID19 cases among school employees jumped to 336 from 187 — an increase of nearly 80%. The number of active cases among students rose to 1,684 from 1,050 (up by 60%).
3) Clearly, the #pandemic is straining the resources of the educational system. The government has not released data on the number of schools that have closed, but in Montreal in the past few days two private high schools have shut down for two weeks following #COVID19 outbreaks.
Read 10 tweets
14 Oct
1) Although Quebec observed its fourth daily decline in new #COVID19 cases on Tuesday, the pandemic is beginning to take a toll on the acute-care hospital system, schools and the workplace. In this thread, I will examine those impacts in the provincial capital and in Montreal.
2) After treating relatively few #COVID19 patients in August and September, the McGill University Health Centre is now grappling with a resurgence, as the chart below makes clear. Total hospitalizations have crept up to 21, along with intensive-care stays at six. Image
3) In the provincial capital, the CHU de Québec hospital network announced Tuesday afternoon that it has no choice but to proceed with délastage, purposely ramping down as many as 300 elective surgeries and 6,000 appointments per week because of an influx of 61 #COVID19 patients.
Read 10 tweets

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