Montreal should expect COVID-19 cases to jump as kids head back to class: public health


Montreal public health authorities warned COVID-19 cases will likely continue to climb in the city as students head back to class, asking people to get vaccinated and exercise caution in the coming weeks.

Dr. Mylène Drouin, director of the local health department, said a fourth wave of the pandemic cannot be avoided but measures can be taken to fight it. All indicators associated with the disease have been on the rise in recent weeks.

“We have an average of 170 new cases each day and more than half of our cases are associated with the Delta variant,” she told reporters on Wednesday. It was her first briefing since June.

“We had those same indicators at the end of September (2020) so we haven’t seen the effect of opening of schools. We expect to see a larger number of cases in the next few weeks.”

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All indicators are on the rise in Montreal, she added, but hospitalizations rates and intensive care admissions remain low at the moment. While the health-care network still has capacity, Drouin said projections show hospital numbers will increase,

As of Wednesday, there are 46 outbreaks in the region, 11 of which are associated with dancing events.

In order to fight the fourth wave, public health authorities are asking Montrealers to be prudent. This includes wearing masks indoors, keeping a safe distance from others and frequent handwashing.

When it comes to schools, Drouin said she is pleased with Quebec’s decision to make masks compulsory in classrooms.

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As a result, department will also launch a campaign blitz in high schools to boost vaccination rates and offer shots to eligible students and staff. Drouin says only 53 per cent of eligible children between the ages of 12 to 17 have been fully vaccinated in the region.

“It’s not enough at a collective level an impact to contain outbreaks,” she said.

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The vaccine is a key tool in this ongoing health crisis, Drouin said, noting it helps reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and the symptoms of the disease.

“The message is to get vaccinated,” she said.

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