Quebec health network under pressure but ‘holding’ amid 6th COVID-19 wave: Dubé

Click to play video: 'Quebec public health warns to proceed with caution for Easter and Passover gatherings' Quebec public health warns to proceed with caution for Easter and Passover gatherings
As Quebec passes the bar of 2,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations, public health director Dr. Luc Boileau says to go ahead but be careful at your Easter and Passover gatherings this weekend. He says though the virus is surging again, Quebec is better equipped to weather the storm now than in previous waves. But as Global’s Dan Spector reports, another curveball has arrived: the flu – Apr 13, 2022

As Quebec continues to face the sixth wave of COVID-19, the province recorded 26 new deaths and 94-patient rise Thursday.

Pandemic-related hospitalizations stood at 2,154. Officials say 282 patients were admitted in the last day, while 188 were discharged.

Intensive care units cases linked to the disease rose by 13 for a total of 96.

The province also logged 3,190 new infections, though this daily count only paints a partial portrait of the situation since PCR testing is limited to a few high-risk groups.

Read more: Quebecers told to be cautious ahead of long weekend and rising hospitalizations

Health authorities say 24,438 tests were administered at provincial screening sites on Tuesday, the most recent day for which that information is available.

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Quebecers also continued to declare the results of their rapid home tests, adding 1,346 in the latest roundup. This includes 1,122 positive tests.

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign issued another 46,057 doses in the last 24-hour period. More than 19 million shots have been given to date.

As part of its daily tally, the province also revealed that nearly 13,000 health-care workers were absent from work for pandemic-related reasons such as isolation or awaiting test results.

Health Minister Christian Dubé told reporters in Quebec City on Thursday he was worried about the growing number of absences in the health network.

Read more: Canadians to gather for Easter, Passover. How safe is it amid 6th COVID-19 wave?

The health system is under pressure but “is holding,” according to Dubé.

He said 85 per cent of scheduled operations are being conducted, adding that despite the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the health network hasn’t started significantly delaying surgeries.

Yet, Dubé also said the next two weeks will be difficult in the province’s hospitals, as the health system manages an unusual spring influenza wave in addition to a sixth pandemic wave.

“The network is keeping the lights on, but given that we are going to maybe have more impact from influenza, the next two weeks are going to be critical,” Dubé said.

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Dubé also urged vigilance during the upcoming long weekend, specifically asking seniors and vulnerable Quebecers “not to take unnecessary risks.”

Quebec has seen 1,010,196 official cases and 14,618 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Recoveries from the virus, meanwhile, surpassed 963,000 on Thursday.

Latest projections for hospitalizations

Quebec’s health-care research institute says pandemic-related hospitalizations are expected to rise to 278 per day over the next two weeks.

The Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS) released its latest projections Wednesday.

For the same two-week period, the modelling puts the total number of hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 as high as 2,339.

Meanwhile, intensive care unit cases are expected to remain stable. The INESSS projects that about 92 people will be treated for the disease in those units.

with files from The Canadian Press

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