Asking health workers with COVID-19 to stay at work shows how dire things are in Quebec: expert | The Canadian News

Quebec is reporting another record number of daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with 13,149 new infections.

Another 10 deaths related to the virus in the last 24 hours bring the death toll since the start of the pandemic to 11,702.

COVID-19 hospitalizations saw another big jump with 179 new patients admitted and 77 discharged for an increase of 102. Of the 804 people hospitalized, 122 are intensive for an increase of seven from the previous day.

On Tuesday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19, under certain conditions and on a case-by-case basis, will be allowed to continue working.

Read more:

‘We have no other choice’: Quebec announces that some health workers with COVID-19 will be able to work

Dubé explained that the exponential growth in cases derived from the Omicron variant means that many healthcare workers are being removed from the workplace, either because they tested positive, are awaiting a diagnosis or because they were in contact with an infected person.

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As of Tuesday, 7,000 healthcare workers were absent due to COVID-19, and that number is expected to hit 10,000 in the next few days.

Dubé said the province had no choice but to impose the new measure to keep the health network operational.

“If we had the necessary personnel, we would not have to implement this measure,” he said Tuesday. “It’s about managing the risks and weighing any downsides.”

More sanitary reaction

Many unions spoke out against the new measure on Tuesday, saying it is too “risky.” Instead, they ask for on-site testing for healthcare workers, better protective gear, including N95 masks, and that staff not be moved from one location to another, among other requests.

Dr. Don Vinh, an infectious disease specialist and medical microbiologist at McGill University Health Center, agrees that safety is a top concern.

“If we have to go back to work even though some of us are COVID-positive, then it better be in the safest condition possible, and anything other than that would be irresponsible,” he said.

For Vinh, the government’s decision shows how serious the situation is.

“The announcement that was made yesterday was unfortunate but understandable,” he said.

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“Because right now the government’s priority is to get a sufficient number of personnel in health systems or hospitals to provide care.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: CDC Director Explains Decision to Reduce Isolation Period to 5 Days'

COVID-19: CDC Director Explains Decision to Reduce Isolation Period to 5 Days

COVID-19: CDC Director Explains Decision to Reduce Isolation Period to 5 Days

Carl Veilleux, chairman of the board of the Association of Intermediate Housing Resources of Quebec (ARIHQ), an organization that represents and supports the assisted living network, called it a measure of last resort.

“We have no alternative, we need to find people who cover all shifts and provide services to our vulnerable population,” he said.

Veilleux explained how the lack of staff is affecting the level of care that is provided.

He recounted how an employee who had been working multiple shifts for several days during vacation made a mistake with a patient’s medication.

“He’s a good employee, who turned out to be too tired,” he said. “I think it could have been avoided if we had access to enough staff and everyone could show up rested for their turn.”

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Click to play video: 'Quebec announces that some health workers with COVID-19 will be able to work'

Quebec Announces Some Healthcare Workers Will Be Allowed To Work With COVID-19

Quebec Announces Some Healthcare Workers Will Be Allowed To Work With COVID-19

Vinh, for his part, said MUHC has a strategy to expand the number of COVID-19 units in order to meet demand as hospitalizations continue to rise.

A MUHC spokesperson said it has started transferring some non-COVID-19 patients, who do not require advanced or specialized care, from Royal Victoria and Montreal General Hospitals to Lachine Hospital.

The move will make room at MUHC center sites for the most seriously ill patients, regardless of their COVID-19 status.

“This is a responsible way to ensure that all beds in the MUHC are utilized and inpatient resources are maximized,” said spokesperson Sandra Sciangula.

Launch of vaccines

Meanwhile, the momentum continues to bring the third booster dose to the arms of as many Quebecers as possible.

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READ MORE: COVID-19 infections skyrocket with nearly 13K daily cases reported in Quebec

As of Wednesday, essential workers, including all school personnel, public safety personnel, people who work for community organizations that provide health and social services, as well as food inspectors and slaughterhouse personnel, among others, are being prioritized. for a third dose.

From January 4 to January 21, the province will open places according to age group for all adults.

To date, more than one million booster doses have been administered in Quebec.

Officials have reiterated the importance of receiving a third dose, as it provides a significant increase in protection against the Omicron variant.

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Since the start of the health crisis, Quebec has registered 572,419 infections and 482,502 recoveries, bringing the number of active cases to 78,215.

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