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Pandemic has worsened staff shortages in hospital emergency rooms: Montreal doctors

Paramedics transfer a patient to the emergency unit at Verdun Hospital, Tuesday, April 14, 2020 in Montreal. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Montreal emergency room doctors say a shortage of health-care workers that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving emergency rooms overwhelmed in the eastern part of the city.

They wrote an open letter published in Montreal newspapers earlier this week lamenting how half the nursing positions and three-quarters of the respiratory therapist jobs at Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital, in eastern Montreal, are vacant.

The doctors, who work for the eastern Montreal health authority, say staff shortages have led to bed closures in other parts of that hospital and at local long-term health facilities, putting more pressure on emergency rooms across the city.

READ MORE: Quebec reports 75 new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations drop below 80

They say that mandatory overtime, introduced to prevent service interruptions, is pushing health-care workers out of the public system and into the private health network, which offers better hours and working conditions.

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Meanwhile, Quebec is reporting 75 new cases of COVID-19 today and no deaths linked to the novel coronavirus for a second consecutive day.

The Health Department says the number of hospitalizations dropped by six, to 79, and 25 people were in intensive care, unchanged since Tuesday.

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