Quebec emergency rooms see some relief

The emergency waiting room at Sainte-Justine Hospital is shown on Thursday, January 16, 2020 in Montreal. Paediatricians across the country say far fewer parents are seeking emergency care for their children, likely over concerns about putting their kids in contact with COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

After hitting a peak in occupancy last week, the situation in Quebec emergency rooms is improving, according to an update released Monday by Index Santé.

The average occupancy rate of stretchers now stands at 81 per cent, down from 102 per cent last week.

But, as the index indicates, those rates vary between regions. A large number of emergency rooms in Montreal, the Laurentians, and the Montérégie are all running overcapacity, causing dozens of patients to be left on stretchers for more than 48 hours.

Santa Cabrini and the Montreal General are among the most overcrowded, with occupancy rates reaching 155 per cent and 129 per cent, respectively.

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In the Quebec City region, the average emergency room occupancy rate stands at 72 per cent as of Monday morning, compared with 91 per cent in Lanaudière and 85 per cent on the North Shore.

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Since the start of the pandemic, authorities have reported 228,821 cases of COVID-19 in Quebec.

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