Montreal’s chief of public health applauds Quebec’s new restrictions

“Omicron will outperform the Delta variant later this year, so we need to get vaccinated for the third dose as soon as possible.”

Article content

With Montreal’s increasing hospitalizations and daily COVID-19 case counts surpassing the contact tracing capacity of its public health department, the city’s public health director said Friday that she welcomed the measures of the Quebec government to limit contacts in the general population.

Commercial

Article content

“We risk having many cases of hospitalizations, and if this capacity is at risk due to a high case curve, then population measures are the only ones that will allow us to overcome it”, Mylène Drouin, director of the Montreal Department of Public Health . he said in an interview with the Gazette.

“We hope that (the measures) are not prolonged for long. We will have to see how well vaccines allow us to protect vulnerable populations and what real impact it will have on our health care systems. “

The measures announced by Prime Minister François Legault on Thursday night, including lowering capacity limits in shops, bars and cinemas to 50 percent and limiting office parties to 10 people, were in line with what the Montreal public health department had been looking for, Drouin said.

Commercial

Article content

The province reported 3,786 cases on Friday, its highest case count since the start of the pandemic. Projections released this week suggest that hospitalizations, currently numbering 305 across the province, could more than double by January 8, pushing the fragile health care system beyond capacity.

The Montreal public health team had embarked on an aggressive and time-consuming contact tracing campaign to try to keep the Omicron variant at bay, focusing on “trace back” to try to determine the source of the outbreaks and reaching a wide variety of potential contacts. . But with more than 1,200 cases reported in the city on Thursday, beyond the department’s ability to track roughly 1,000 cases a day, Drouin said they were forced to resort to reaching as many people as possible and giving clear instructions to the infected.

Commercial

Article content

The directives include asking infected people to contact people they have been in contact with and to observe strict isolation measures, and for the general population to use rapid COVID-19 tests as much as possible and receive injections. booster quickly.

“It is certain that Omicron will overtake the Delta variant by the end of this year, so we must vaccinate for the third dose as quickly as possible,” he said. “Even if vaccines are imperfect, they are still our best protection.”

Drouin has suggested that all elementary school students, who account for a large percentage of COVID cases because many remain unvaccinated, take a rapid test in early January before returning to classes to limit outbreaks in schools.

Commercial

Article content

Since data on the severity of disease caused by the Omicron variant are lacking, particularly for older people with underlying health conditions, extra caution is required even if most have already received a third dose of the vaccine. The authorities are intensifying measures in nursing homes, nursing homes and care institutions.

Since Montreal has a high vaccination rate of 91% with at least two doses, its population is in a good position to receive third doses for further protection from Omicron. Drouin said the hope is that the sense of urgency will attract most people to get vaccinated quickly and reduce contacts as much as possible.

“So that we can be pleasantly surprised to have an increase in hospitalizations that is not as high as what had been projected,” he said. “That would be my dream, that at the end of January we would not be precisely mourning the victory, but feeling that we have been able to reduce the impact.”

Commercial

Article content

Drouin attributes Montreal’s vaccination rate to the work of regional health authorities, which is high compared to the average urban center. Health workers went to the source of the problems (crowded subsidized housing areas, religious centers, places where 18-24 year olds congregated) to promote vaccination among segments of the population who doubted or lacked the benefits. means or time to get vaccinated. .

“Now the challenge is to have a solid response to calls for a third dose,” he said. “Hopefully the fact that we are in a state of emergency helps.”

[email protected]

All our news related to the coronavirus can be found at montrealgazette.com/tag/coronavirus .

For information on the vaccine passport, Click here .
Sign up for our email newsletter dedicated to local coverage of COVID-19 in montrealgazette.com/coronavirusnews .

Help support our local journalism by subscribing to the Montreal Gazette here .

    Commercial

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to moderate before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications – you will now receive an email if you receive a response to your comment, there is an update from a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Reference-montrealgazette.com

Leave a Comment