1) Since Dec. 16, the day before Quebec schools closed due to the #COVID19 resurgence, the number of active cases among students and staff stood at 5,156. Since then, that number has plummeted to 487. In this thread, I'll focus on the risks involved with Monday's return to class. Image
2) Authorities have acknowledged that closing schools has led to a drop in #COVID19 cases among elementary and high school students. Yet unlike southern Ontario, which will keep its schools closed until Jan. 28, elementary school students here will have to return to class Monday.
3) The fact that Grades 5 and 6 students will now have to wear masks in class all day long suggests Quebec authorities acknowledge that overcrowded and poorly ventilated schools can cause transmission of the #coronavirus. Yet there are no plans for portable air purifiers.
4) Let’s look at the data another way. On Dec. 16, the Institut nationale de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) recorded 184 #COVID19 cases among children up to the ages of 9. On Jan. 3, the most recent date available, the INSPQ recorded 150 cases in this age group. Image
5) On Dec. 16, there were 306 confirmed #COVID19 cases among the 10-to-19 age demographic. But on Jan. 3, there were 250 cases. This trend suggests that closing schools during this period resulted in a drop in cases in these two cohorts. Image
6) What’s interesting to note is that cases have appeared to rise during the so-called holiday pause among workers aged 20 to 39. Given that essential businesses are to remain open, will the four-week curfew launched Saturday have an impact on this demographic? Image
7) Despite the closing of non-essential businesses since Dec. 25, the number of workplace #COVID19 outbreaks across the province rose by 18 to 599 on Saturday. The total number of clusters in Quebec inched up by five to 1,254. But they’re down from a high of 1,678 on Dec. 21.
8) Meanwhile, Montreal posted 1,071 #COVID19 cases Sunday, down from 1,531 the day before. The city’s seven-day rolling average is still alarmingly high at 49.05 cases per 100,000 residents, almost double the threshold set by Harvard University to impose stay-at-home orders. Image
9) At the neighborhood level, the borough of Saint-Léonard — which has declared a #COVID19 positivity rate of 20.9% — reported the highest number of cases in the metropolis: 137. But the chart below shows that three other health districts also each posted more than 100 cases. Image
10) For context only: Since Jan. 1, 115 #COVID19 fatalities have been reported in Montreal, raising its death toll to 3,977. In contrast, 67 people in the city of Paris have lost their lives to the #pandemic since the start of the year, for a death toll of 2,744. End of thread. Image

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More from @Aaron_Derfel

12 Jan
1) In the starkest assessment yet, a deputy Quebec health minister warned Monday of the pandemic’s long-lasting impact not just on #COVID19 patients but on those suffering from cancer. In this thread, I will try to explain the deadly indirect damage the #coronavirus is causing.
2) Because of the worsening #pandemic, the number of elective surgeries in the province has jumped to at least 140,000. Even that number, though, doesn’t tell the full story. Kidney transplants from living donors have been suspended, and some people cannot get a colonoscopy.
3) The ramp down in clinical activities during the #pandemic’s first wave last spring resulted in at least 5,000 fewer cancer diagnoses than the normal volume. That means thousands of Quebecers are walking around with cancers that would otherwise have been detected earlier.
Read 11 tweets
9 Jan
1) Montreal on Saturday shattered a #pandemic record, posting 1,531 (!) #COVID19 cases. This marks the third time this week the metropolis has reported daily totals above 1,100. In this thread, I will try to shed light on the sharply deteriorating situation in the city. Image
2) The city’s seven-day rolling average has soared to 50.64 #COVID19 cases per 100,000 residents. That’s double the threshold set by Harvard University’s health experts to require stay-at-home orders. Instead, the city remains open, except for an 8 p.m. curfew, starting tonight. Image
3) Montreal’s latest resurgence is by far greater than other regions in the province. Montreal also posted 461 more #COVID19 cases than the more populous city of Toronto. The spike in Montreal is reflected in the fact the positivity rate in one borough, Saint-Léonard, is 20.9%.
Read 9 tweets
9 Jan
1) A Quebec public health advisor suggested Friday installing portable air purifiers in schools might produce the opposite effect, inadvertently causing the #coronavirus to spread in the air among students. In this thread, I will fact-check this assertion by Dr. Richard Massé.
2) This is what Dr. Massé had to say on the subject: “The committee also found that if they’re not installed properly they can create air movement that promotes the transmission of aerosols.” Upon what scientific basis did the committee reach this decision?
3) The answer to that question can be found in the scientific references listed in the back of the study by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. The INSPQ cited a South Korean study which warns the “installation of air purifiers may cause new problems.”
Read 11 tweets
8 Jan
1) In the past two days, #COVID19 outbreaks in the workplace have jumped by 70 across Quebec, raising questions about the government’s decision to spare the manufacturing industry from its latest lockdown announcement. In this thread, I will re-examine the government's decision.
2) On Nov. 21, the government reported a total of 64 outbreaks in manufacturing, 53 in stores and 26 in construction. In the last update on workplace outbreaks on Dec. 23, the government disclosed that #COVID19 clusters in manufacturing nearly tripled to 187.
3) Outbreaks in stores nearly tripled, too, with a total of 151, according to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ). And #COVID19 clusters in construction nearly doubled to 60. Yet the Premier has exempted manufacturing and construction from the new lockdown.
Read 10 tweets
7 Jan
1) Since last week, the #COVID19 positivity rate in the Montreal borough of Saint-Léonard has jumped to 20.9% (!) from 18.1%, underscoring how the #coronavirus is running rampant in the city. Will the four-week curfew announced Wednesday succeed in breaking this second wave?
2) Before answering that question, it’s worth focusing on the rising #COVID19 hospitalizations in Montreal and across the province. At the McGill University Health Centre (see the chart below), the number of such hospitalizations has been surging in an almost vertical line.
3) Quebec-wide, intensive-care stays due to #COVID19 are fast approaching the peak of the first wave, with a total of 202 disclosed on Wednesday. (The record stands at 222 on May 6). This is in addition to all the other non-COVID patients who are in ICUs. See the chart below.
Read 10 tweets
6 Jan
1) On the eve of Quebec’s announcement of a total lockdown for at least three weeks, the province posted a staggering single-day increase of 31 #COVID19 outbreaks in health-care institutions. In this thread, I will focus on what the lockdown will mean for these facilities.
2) In the short-term at least, it’s doubtful the lockdown will ease the tremendous pressure that hospitals and long-term care centres are under, with #COVID19 outbreaks flaring up, workers getting sick and hospitalizations rising.
3) In the first wave, Premier François Legault announced a lockdown on March 13, and waited nearly three months to declare the lifting of restrictions in Montreal. The big question is whether a lockdown of three to four weeks will be sufficient this time around.
Read 10 tweets

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