1) Despite the closing of non-essential businesses in Montreal on Dec. 25, workplace #COVID19 outbreaks rose to 109 from 91 in the past two weeks, according to the latest figures by authorities. In this thread, I will assess whether the current #pandemic restrictions are working.
2) At first glance, it might seem like the restrictions may be working, given the fact that the total number of #COVID19 outbreaks in Montreal dropped to 315 Tuesday from 426 on Dec. 29. But the chart below is somewhat misleading, as it does not include any school clusters.
3) Quebec shut schools on Dec. 17 amid concerns of rising #COVID19 transmission across the province. On Dec. 29, the Montreal public health department reported 164 school outbreaks. But the latest update shows no such outbreaks, understandable given that schools were shut.
4) But crowded elementary schools reopened on Monday, and high school students will return to class on Jan. 18. It would stand to reason that #COVID19 cases will resume rising in schools, just as they did last fall. In fact, this is already happening across the province.
5) The Quebec Education Ministry on Wednesday reported a total of 1,319 active #COVID19 cases among students and staff, up by 143 from the previous day. The number of shuttered classrooms jumped by nine to 14. Please see the chart below.
6) It’s obvious most of the 1,057 students with #COVID19 tested positive before the return to class. But the fact that schools have had to shutter 14 classrooms shows that the #coronavirus continues to pose a problem in schools, most of which do not have portable air purifiers.
7) Meanwhile, Montreal’s #COVID19 positivity rate has jumped to 13.7% from 12.3% a week ago, suggesting transmission of the coronavirus remains high in the metropolis. The borough of Saint-Léonard has posted the highest positivity rate, 23.1%, up from 20.9% on Jan. 5. See below.
8) Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante declared Wednesday the city has again become the epicenter of the #pandemic in Quebec. The city recorded 727 #COVID19 cases Tuesday, up from 597 the day before. But it’s still too early to discern whether cases are plateauing, authorities warn.
9) And with many Montreal businesses still operating and schools reopening (unlike in Toronto), the city is running the risk of yet another resurgence. Yes, authorities are vaccinating residents of eldercare homes, along with health care workers, but not the general population.
10) At present, 744 people are hospitalized for #COVID in Montreal amid health-care resources that have never been as strained as they are now. And as I had feared, the city crossed the threshold of 4,000 #COVID19 deaths Wednesday. May their deaths not be in vain. End of thread.

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More from @Aaron_Derfel

15 Jan
1) More evidence is emerging that Quebec’s latest #pandemic restrictions may be failing to break the second wave of #COVID19 cases. In this thread, I will return to the subject of the growing number of workplace outbreaks and transmission of the virus in reopened schools.
2) Nearly three weeks after Quebec ordered the closing of non-essential businesses — but not manufacturing — the number of #COVID19 outbreaks in the workplace jumped by 55 in the past two days to 633. One would have expected such outbreaks to start declining by now.
3) Meanwhile, elementary schools reopened on Monday. Yet already, schools are shuttering classrooms due to #COVID19 exposure, up by 19 Thursday for a total of 33 across the province. What’s more, 134 more students and staff have tested positive for the #coronavirus. See below. Image
Read 10 tweets
13 Jan
1) As #COVID19 hospitalizations surged by 61 to nearly 1,500 in the province Tuesday, more young Quebecers are being admitted for the #pandemic illness than ever, some of whom are children, according to the latest figures by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec.
2) The INSPQ reported on Tuesday that there were six “current hospitalizations” for #COVID19 among children up to the age of nine, and 11 between the ages of 10 and 19. I’ve never seen such stats before in Quebec’s pandemic. Please look at the pie chart below.
3) True, the majority of the 1,497 Quebecers hospitalized for #COVID19 are above the age of 60, with the 80-to-89 demographic comprising most admissions. However, as you can observe from INSPQ Excel chart below, a total of 68 Quebecers under 39 are currently in hospital.
Read 11 tweets
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
10 Jan
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.
Read 10 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

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