Quebec’s public health decision to drop the mandatory COVID-19 five-day isolation period has surprised many health professionals.
It’s now up to individuals to determine whether they stay home or not.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Quebec’s public health director, Dr. Luc Boileau, said they are relying on people’s common sense, but some health professionals are perplexed.
“If this is going to be an individual response then abolish the public health agency because it’s not contributing,” said Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist with the MUHC.
Dropping the five-day isolation period could not come at a worse time, he added.
“If we look at what’s going on in the hospitals across the province — particularly in ER congestions, or dare I even say, constipation — what’s going on is that we have people who are sick and that sickness is driven by respiratory illnesses,” said Dr. Vinh.
Health minister Christian Dubé assembled an emergency crisis management team last week to help solve the overcrowding situation, which Dr Vinh says is now somewhat ironic.
“The logical train of thought would be that, well, let’s try to mitigate respiratory illnesses in the community so they don’t find themselves congesting the emergency rooms and hospitals,” added Dr. Vinh.
“Yesterday was a failure of that response.”
Covid Écoles founder Olivier Drouin wonders what public health is even doing anymore.
The public health announcement yesterday seems to be relying more on common sense,” said Drouin. “To me that’s not a public health measure, it’s an admission of failure.”
Drouin added it’s also a recipe for disaster in schools and said it would help if students and faculty had to wear a mask.
“That would at least reduce the probability that the entire group that you’re seeing every day is going to be contaminated,” he said.
The province is keeping a close eye on the highly contagious B.Q.1.1 variant, but public health claims research indicates the COVID-19 vaccine continues to protect against severe illness.