Quebec Standard

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Quebec’s 6th wave could be as destructive as the previous; health expert alerts


Key takeaways: 

  • ‘The outbreak is not over,’ an infectious diseases expert says.
  • Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé says most mask orders are still anticipated to be raised in two weeks, despite the region officially entering the sixth wave.

A top contagious diseases expert in Quebec says there is a disconnect between government inactivity and the gravity of the increasing number of hospitalizations and demise. 

Dr. Cécile Tremblay, a microbiologist and infectious diseases expert at the CHUM hospital in Montreal, says the region’s healthcare system could soon become devastated — once again — with 10,000 healthcare employees already off the job amid the sixth outbreak wave of infections. 

The province is anticipated to lift almost all masking requirements in two weeks. 

Though interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau said he would urge the government on whether to keep mask mandates and reimpose rules next week, Health Minister Christian Dubé has said that those plans aren’t changing. Boileau said he’s relying on Quebecers to use common sense, be alert and lessen their contacts.

Also read: Public health institute says Quebec is in the 6th wave

The province is anticipated to lift almost all masking requirements in two weeks

But Tremblay said that wouldn’t be sufficient to protect hospital capacity. By some estimates, the Omicron BA.2 variant is even more contagious than the last one — up to 70 percent more.

“I don’t think the [government] statement is relevant to the circumstances right now,” Tremblay said, citing it leaves at-risk populations to fend for themselves.

“Ten to 12 individuals a day die from COVID. You know, that’s a lot of people dying,” she stated. “Is this what it means to be living with the virus? Not for me. I don’t get that.”

Tremblay said she is not in favor of another full-closedown. Still, she asks the government to keep masking limitations and lower capacity in some businesses with more chance of infection, such as restaurants. 

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