The already overcrowded emergency rooms predict a traffic peak for the coming days. What is the price for the first wake up with family or friends after two years of confinement?
Posted at 5:00 am
“We would like to be wrong, but unfortunately we have to assume the worst,” warns Dr. Judy Morris, President of the Quebec Association of Emergency Physicians
The situation in the province’s emergency departments remains fragile and could even worsen in the coming days.
Emergencies are particularly overwhelmed in Montérégie and Lanaudière, which reported 136% and 135% occupancy rates, respectively, on Sunday. In Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Suroît Hospital’s emergency department achieved an occupancy rate of 219%.
Emergency departments in the Chaudière-Appalaches (129%), Outaouais (128%), Laurentides (122%), Laval (118%), and Montreal (105%) regions are also overcrowded.
Increase in visits in sight
At the end of December, Health Minister Christian Dubé warned the population that the holiday season would be “difficult”, especially in emergencies. He had urged Quebecers to respect public health measures to “lend a hand” to healthcare workers.
Pandemic or not, the months of January and February are always the busiest months of the year during emergencies.
They generally see an increase in influenza and pneumonia after the holiday season parties. Added to this is the return of large gatherings since COVID-19 this year.
Ideally, ERs should be operating at 85% or less to handle a sudden spike in traffic, says Dr. Morris. “If you get 140%, 160%, or 200%, that’s frankly worrying,” she says.
However, in some establishments it has become a daily reality.
“It is now the case that we are happy if we are below 200%,” says Mélanie Gignac, President of the Union of Health Professions of Montérégie-Ouest.
At Suroît Hospital, 39 patients had been waiting 48 hours or more on a stretcher in the emergency room on Sunday, 52 patients for a day. According to Ms. Gignac, the floors are also overcrowded with patients.
“We don’t have staff to take care of the sick. It’s a tape I want to play over and over again,” she says.
With the holiday season coming to an end, Ms Gignac fears the increased pressure on staff when the rubber band has already been pushed to the extreme.
“The health system is held together by the placement of health workers” who agree to work overtime, she points out.
If you have symptoms, Dr. Morris on the population to stay at home and wear the mask in closed places. Unless your health concern is urgent, call 811 before going to the hospital.
Travelers from China
Experts question the requirement for travelers returning from China to present a negative test. Effective Jan. 5, this requirement is “an entirely political decision and is not based on science at this time,” Kerry Bowman, an assistant professor in the Temerty School of Medicine at the University of Toronto, told La Presse. Travelers from China affected by a COVID-19 wave, but also from Hong Kong and Macau, must present a negative test result upon arrival in the country. dr But Isaac Bogoch, also an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Temerty School of Medicine, argues that travel measures like these “do little to prevent the spread of the virus in Canada or the emergence of new variants on the territory.” A more effective measure would be to test airplane and airport sewage for viral loads and mutations, said Dr. Bowman.
With the Canadian Press