1) The impact of the third wave on Quebec hospitals thus far is not nearly as severe as what is going on in Ontario, but there are ominous signs the situation is deteriorating in the acute-care system here. In this thread, I will examine those signs.
2) As I report in my @mtlgazette column tonight, over-burdened Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital is now offloading #COVID19 patients to nearby Santa Cabrini Hospital. The reason is a severe shortage of nurses. montrealgazette.com/news/local-new…
3) In the past nine days, the number of #COVID hospitalizations in Quebec has jumped from 487 to 566. The biggest increase is being observed in the 60-to-69 age group, as you can glimpse from the chart below. In the first wave, it was patients in their 80s who were hospitalized.
4) Quebec’s health professionals are burned out and exhausted, having treated #COVID19 patients in three consecutive waves. Hundreds of nurses have quit the profession, making it that much harder to reduce a backlog of more than 140,000 surgeries.
5) Apart from #COVID hospitalizations, more patients are being admitted with advanced disease — from cancer to heart ailments. So although Quebec is so far reporting one-third of the hospitalizations from the last wave's peak, the health-care system is already severely weakened.
6) In the meantime, the #COVID19 clusters keep flaring up. In Gatineau, the Hull prison outbreak has more than doubled to 46 infected inmates, plus 16 guards. Outbreaks rose by 10 to 250 in schools and by six to 65 in health-care settings.
7) Despite the mass vaccinations of the province’s seniors, outbreaks have erupted in long-term care centres in Chaudière-Appalaches and the Montérégie in the last few days. This demonstrates that stringent precautions must be taken even after inoculations.
8) Because of the more contagious variants, authorities are not taking any chances in schools. As a consequence, 444 schools have shut temporarily, and more than 9,000 classes have been shuttered. These figures are unprecedented in the @pandemic.
9) In this context, it seems prudent that Premier François Legault announced on Thursday he is extending public health restrictions in Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau by a week. But it’s puzzling that he didn't proceed with tougher restrictions for Montreal.
10) Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s chief public health officer, offered his condolences Thursday to the family of a 40-year-old Quebecer who died from #COVID19. The #pandemic death toll in the province rose by nine to 10,718. End of thread. Please limit your social contacts.

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More from @Aaron_Derfel

11 Apr
1) Since April 1, the age group in Quebec reporting both the greatest number of #COVID19 hospitalizations and the sharpest increase are those in their 60s, according to the latest provincial data. This is a drop of 20 years from the first wave. Image
2) The data by Quebec’s public health institute shows a net increase of 80 #pandemic hospitalizations since the start of the month for a total of 583. This suggests the third wave is already having a deleterious effect on the province. Image
3) The number of #COVID19 deaths has risen by 61 to 10,737 in Quebec since April 1. In the eight days prior to the start of April, the number of deaths rose by 49. Again, this suggests the third wave is growing worse in Quebec.
Read 10 tweets
10 Apr
1) COVID-19 outbreaks in Quebec workplaces are not getting the attention they deserve, but they’ve been surging just as much, if not more, than those in schools. On Friday, the number of such clusters jumped by 25 to 499. In this thread, I will address the workplace phenomenon.
2) Since April 1, the number of #COVID19 outbreaks in schools across Quebec has risen from 175 to 251, or 43%. During the same period, workplace outbreaks have climbed from 349 to 499, or 43% as well. Yet the risks of workplace contagion are not being discussed as much.
3) Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why Quebec made masks mandatory for employees in all workplaces on Thursday. No doubt the more transmissible variants spurred public health authorities to act more aggressively in this third wave. But which workplaces are the most vulnerable?
Read 10 tweets
8 Apr
1) On the eve of a second 5 p.m. news conference tomorrow by Premier François Legault this week, it’s now clear that the #pandemic in Quebec has deteriorated sharply in the past two days. In this thread, I will take stock of the latest worrisome trends.
2) First, let me extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of the 16-year-old student who died of #COVID19 at Sainte-Justine Hospital Saturday, the youngest person in Quebec to have succumbed to the #coronavirus, most likely from one of the variants. montrealgazette.com/news/local-new…
3) Quebec posted an increase of 29 #COVID19 hospitalizations Wednesday, raising the total in the province to 543. The increase was the highest since Jan. 17, when Quebec was at the peak of its second wave. Yet Health Minister Christian Dubé downplayed the severity of the spike.
Read 11 tweets
7 Apr
1) A record 27 schools across Quebec announced on Tuesday that they have suspected variant #COVID19 cases. Most are found in the Capitale-Nationale region, which has already shut schools until April 12. But seven schools are located in the Montreal area.
2) On Tuesday evening, Premier François Legault backtracked on his decision requiring Montreal high school seniors to attend classes five days a week. But as the latest list by covidecolesquebec.org shows, the variants are still circulating widely in Montreal classrooms.
3) Legault again asserted that the situation is under control in Montreal. Please let me draw your attention to an article by my @mltgazette colleague @katelynthomas that Montreal's #COVID19 case numbers are again rising from a plateau. montrealgazette.com/news/local-new…
Read 10 tweets
4 Apr
1) It appears that even during the third wave, mass vaccinations in Montreal may be blunting the impact of the more contagious variants, while these strains surge in other regions with much lower inoculation rates. In this thread, I will focus on the vaccination effort.
2) This is not to suggest that the #pandemic is under control in Montreal, as Premier François Legault claimed last week without evidence. More than three quarters of the city’s population has still not received a shot and the variants are still spreading in the metropolis.
3) The #COVID19 variants struck Montreal first, long before the outlying regions, and the city has accumulated the most cases of the more transmissible strains. But it’s worth pointing out that the variants are now surging faster in regions with much lower vaccination rates.
Read 13 tweets
3 Apr
Breaking: Quebec on Saturday reports its biggest daily increase yet in the number of #COVID19 variant cases: 771, for a total of 9,558. Positivity rate up to 60.3%. Big data dump. More tweets to come.
2) The Capitale-Nationale is surging with #COVID19 variants, up by 338 cases since Friday. The region is posting a rate of 217.9 variant cases per 100,000 residents, the highest by far of any region. Laval comes in second with a rate of 181.8.
3) The Côte Nord records for the first time variant cases, two of them. This means that the more contagious variants like B.1.1.7 are now circulating in 14 of Quebec's 16 regions.
Read 12 tweets

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