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Flu season leads to overcrowding in Quebec ERs

Cold and flu season is upon us and several hospitals across the province are having difficulty dealing with the influx of patients.

The situation is especially critical in the Monterégie region where on Saturday morning, seven of eight hospitals showed a stretcher occupancy rate at or exceeding capacity.

This can mean long wait times for patients.

READ MORE: This year’s flu vaccine might only be 10% effective against predominant strain

To deal with the situation, Longueuil’s Pierre-Boucher hospital — with a stretcher occupancy rate of 191 per cent — has forbidden patients to be accompanied when coming to the ER.

Only patients under the age of 18,  or patients with a significant cognitive impairment, or an unstable or terminal condition can be accompanied.

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The hospital is also asking those with flu or gastroenteritis symptoms to hold off on a hospital visit for now.

READ MORE: Quebec kicks off flu vaccination campaign amid worries over influenza A

On its website, the hospital says these measures will limit the transmission of infections to clients and staff and will make it easier for employees and physicians to treat patients.

Additionally, the hospital is reminding anyone visiting the hospital to wash their hands upon entering and leaving the premises.

READ MORE: Signs you’re too sick with the flu and should stay home

Several ERs in the Montreal area are also at capacity, with average occupancy rates hitting 126 per cent.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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