Montreal’s director of public health urges parents to take their children to mass vaccination centers as soon as possible.

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Montreal’s director of public health urges parents to vaccinate their children at large vaccination centers as soon as possible, rather than waiting for school vaccination programs to start.

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In a press conference on Wednesday, Dr. Mylène Drouin said the number of cases in the region increased for the fifth week in a row and is now roughly at the peak of the fourth wave in mid-September.

“It is not a rapid increase, but it is constant and now we are seeing an average of 250 new cases every day,” he said.

The increase is primarily among those who are not vaccinated, especially children under the age of 11 and those aged 35 to 54, who in many cases are parents of young children, he said.

Mass vaccination centers in the region have also started vaccinating children between the ages of five and 11. About 30 percent of young people in that age group have received a first dose of the vaccine or are on an appointment.

Vaccination programs in schools began last Friday in Quebec, but only about half of the schools in the region will host vaccination operations, said Sonia Bélanger, spokeswoman for the COVID-19 command center of the social services network and Montreal health department. The choice of schools depends on a number of factors, including space, availability of nursing staff and parking, he said.

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“The message for parents is that if they can go to mass vaccination centers, the sooner the better,” Drouin said. “We recommend that you make an appointment now so that your child receives immunity quickly during the holidays.”

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COVID-19 cases are highest in neighborhoods where vaccination levels are lower, he said, and these include Anjou, St-Léonard, Pointe-aux-Trembles, St-Michel and Côte-des-Neiges, where the positivity rates are now above five percent. penny.

Despite the increase in cases, the rate of new hospitalizations in the region fell slightly in the last week, with 23 people hospitalized, four in intensive care. She attributed this low hospitalization rate to Montreal’s high vaccination rate. More than 80 percent of Montréal’s have been fully vaccinated, and among those 12 and older, the rate is 91 percent.

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Public health officials are dealing with more than 180 active outbreaks this week, more than half of them in daycare centers and elementary schools. There are only three outbreaks in healthcare settings and seven outbreaks in homeless shelters.

Drouin emphasized that little is yet known about the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, a case of which has been confirmed in the Montreal region. That case was a double-vaccinated traveler, who is asymptomatic and in isolation. He said he does not expect more related cases to be discovered because there was no contact with the community.

Public health authorities are following 50 other travelers from countries that have confirmed community transmission of the Omicron variant.

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Drouin praised the federal government’s decision, announced Tuesday, to screen all travelers arriving in Canada from anywhere other than the United States and isolate them while they await the results of those tests. He added that he is glad that the provincial government is “more prudent with this year’s holidays” and waits at least two more weeks before announcing the relaxation of meeting restrictions.

Until more is known about how contagious Omicron is, whether it causes a more serious illness and is resistant to approved vaccines, public health will take an aggressive approach to confirmed cases, he said. Anyone who tests positive for the new variant will have to isolate themselves, as will anyone they have had contact with, even if they are doubly vaccinated.

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Bélanger said hospitals in the region have prepared an additional 500 beds in case the Omicron variant causes an increase in severe disease. These beds are not concentrated in designated hospitals, as in previous waves of the pandemic, but are distributed among all hospitals.

Mass vaccination sites in the Montreal region include: the Olympic Stadium, the Palais des congrès, Place Décarie, the Dollard-St-Laurent Sports Center in LaSalle, and the Gerry-Robertson Community Center in Pierrefonds-Roxborough.

To book an appointment for a child or for more information, go to the government website or call 514-644-4545.

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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