Advertisement

Quebecers may have to reduce contacts even more, public health institute warns

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Quebec government says sanitary measures are having an impact' Coronavirus: Quebec government says sanitary measures are having an impact
​October is seen as pivotal in the fight against COVID-19 in Quebec. On Friday, provincial health authorities released their projections for the remainder of the month and it seems the sacrifices being made by Quebecers to stem the second wave of the coronavirus are working. Global's Raquel Fletcher explains.

Quebecers may have to limit their contacts even more to reduce the number of new cases of COVID-19, according to the province’s public health institute.

The province’s partial lockdown helped prevent exponential growth in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the institute said in a report released Friday.

That avoided a return of the pandemic that could have been “quite catastrophic,” said Dr. Jocelyne Sauve, the institute’s vice-president of scientific affairs.

The measures introduced by the Quebec government, which banned indoor and outdoor private gatherings and shuttered bars and restaurant dining rooms, are effective, but they’re not enough to completely flatten the curve, Sauve told reporters at a briefing on the report.

READ MORE: Halloween to go ahead with restrictions in Quebec amid coronavirus pandemic

It will take an additional effort from the public to do that, she said.

Story continues below advertisement

The institute’s projections show that the current regulations, which began taking effect Oct. 1 in Montreal and Quebec City and now apply in several other parts of the province, will only slow down the spread of the virus while the number of hospitalizations and deaths will continue to rise.

It says that in order to reduce the number of new cases — and the hospitalizations and deaths that come with them — Quebecers will have to cut their contacts with others by 25 per cent.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The report comes the same day as a projection from another provincial government health research institute, which shows less pressure on the hospital system than there was a week ago and forecasts that Quebec hospitals won’t run out of dedicated beds for COVID-19 patients during the next four weeks.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Health officials urge Quebecers to reduce contacts' Coronavirus: Health officials urge Quebecers to reduce contacts
Coronavirus: Health officials urge Quebecers to reduce contacts

Health Minister Christian Dubé said he doesn’t see any contradiction between the two reports.

Story continues below advertisement

He told a news conference that both reports show that Quebec has done a good job at stabilizing the situation, but that more will have to be done to lower the number of cases reported every day.

“The data we’re seeing today clearly shows that the sacrifices we’ve been making since Oct. 1 are working,” he said.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Health minister urges Quebecers to limit contacts as new data released' Coronavirus: Health minister urges Quebecers to limit contacts as new data released
Coronavirus: Health minister urges Quebecers to limit contacts as new data released

The health-care system remains fragile, he said. Earlier this week, Quebec City’s three largest teaching hospitals said they will soon have to start cancelling surgeries and out-patient appointments.

For hospitals, Dubé said, “the next two weeks are critical.”

While the partial lockdown in Quebec’s “red zones” is scheduled to end on Oct. 28, Dubé said things won’t return to normal after that.

The government still wants to lift restrictions, he said, but it also doesn’t want to create a “yo-yo” situation, where restrictions are lifted and then put back into place.

Story continues below advertisement

Quebec reported 1,055 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and 14 additional deaths. One death previously attributed to the virus was found to have been due to other causes.

Public health authorities in the province say 507 people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 87 in intensive care. The province has had a total of 91,018 confirmed cases and 6,018 deaths since the pandemic began.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Quebec Government warns some COVID-19 restrictions could last for months' Coronavirus: Quebec Government warns some COVID-19 restrictions could last for months
Coronavirus: Quebec Government warns some COVID-19 restrictions could last for months