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COVID 19: Montreal officials say 1 in 5 residents getting tested are positive

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Montreal public health on Omicron’s impact' COVID-19: Montreal public health on Omicron’s impact
Skyrocketing with covid cases and a sharp increase in hospitalizations. Montreal health officials shined some light on just how the current wave is impacting the city. They're making plans to increase the amount of hospital beds available to treat people with the virus but this will come at the expense of other medical treatments. Dan Spector reports – Dec 23, 2021

Quebec reported a record 9,397 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, as Montreal public health officials said contact tracers could no longer keep up with the surging number of daily infections.

Montreal public health director Dr. Mylene Drouin told reporters that 90 per cent of new COVID-19 cases in the city involve the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus and that one in five Montrealers getting tested is positive.

Drouin said there were more than 3,600 cases identified in the city on Wednesday, adding that the number is likely an underestimation given that testing sites are overwhelmed and results of take-home rapid tests aren’t being recorded. About sixty per cent of new infections in Montreal involve people between the ages of 18 and 44, she added.

“The message is we are having an intense community transmission in Montreal,” Drouin said. “It’s exponential it’s touching young adults.”

“Everyone has someone in their entourage who is infected with COVID right now so we all have to be really vigilant to protect the vulnerable.”

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Quebec’s Health Department on Thursday also reported six more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. COVID-19-related hospitalizations rose by 28, to 473, and 91 people were in intensive care, a rise of three.

While the Quebec government maintained holiday gatherings at a maximum of 10 people, it will limit private gatherings to a maximum of six people or to two-family bubbles as of Boxing Day. Restaurants, which are already operating at half capacity, will also have to limit groups at tables to six people or two families.

Click to play video: 'Testing centres continue to be in high demand in Quebec as COVID numbers spike from the omicron variant' Testing centres continue to be in high demand in Quebec as COVID numbers spike from the omicron variant
Testing centres continue to be in high demand in Quebec as COVID numbers spike from the omicron variant – Dec 22, 2021

Read more: Quebec announces almost 9,400 new COVID-19 cases, 92 hospitalizations

In Montreal, 181 people are hospitalized with the disease, a rise of 60 per cent since last week. Officials said they are postponing some non-essential services and reorganizing personnel to increase the number of COVID-19-dedicated beds to 550.

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Drouin said Montreal public health officials are no longer capable of contact tracing all the new cases reported every day because the numbers are overwhelming. She asked people who receive a positive test result _ whether at a testing centre or through a take-home rapid test kit _ to isolate for ten days and to call the people they had recently come into contact with.

“What we’re asking is you call your close contacts and ask them to isolate themselves for 10 days,” Drouin said.

On Wednesday, Montreal health officials discovered more than 3,600 new cases, claiming that the figure is likely underestimated, and that 60% of illnesses affect adults aged 18 to 44.

Drouin told reporters that 90 per cent of new COVID-19 cases in the city involve the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus and that 1 in 5 Montrealers getting tested is positive.

Read more: COVID-19: Montreal brings back state of emergency as Omicron variant spreads

Drouin said there were more than 3,600 cases identified in the city on Wednesday, adding that the number is likely an underestimation given that testing sites are overwhelmed and results of take-home rapid tests aren’t being recorded.

About 60 per cent of new infections in Montreal involve people between the ages of 18 and 44, she added.

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“‘The message is that we are experiencing an enormous communal transmission in Montreal,” Drouin explained. “It’s developing at a fast pace, and it’s harming teenagers and young adults.”

“Everyone has someone in their entourage who is infected with COVID right now so we all have to be really vigilant to protect the vulnerable.”

Quebec’s Health Department on Thursday also reported six more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. COVID-19-related hospitalizations rose by 28, to 473, and 91 people were in intensive care, a rise of three.

Dr. Marie-France Raynault, a public health doctor with the Health Department, told a technical briefing with reporters on Thursday that what’s most important is for people who test positive with a rapid test to isolate.

“In the context of high community transmission like in Montreal, the probability that a rapid positive test is really positive is very high,” Raynault said. “The probability of having a false positive is therefore lower, but it’s not zero.”

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