Rising COVID-19 hospitalizations won't overwhelm hospitals in short term: report

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MONTREAL — Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are expected to rise across Quebec but shouldn't exceed dedicated capacity over the next two to three weeks, a government health-care research institute said Thursday.

About 80 per cent of new COVID-19-related hospitalizations will occur in the Montreal area and surrounding regions, the Institut national d'excellence en santé et services sociaux said in a report. But the rise in COVID-19 patients should not exceed capacity in the short term, it added.

Montreal's large northern suburb, Laval, is currently the most affected region in Quebec, with 171.3 active cases per 100,000 people, followed by Montreal, with 99.2 active cases per 100,000 people. There are 67.9 active cases per 100,000 people in the province.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the institute found that the number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Quebec's long-term care homes dropped by 90 per cent after first doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered to residents.

The average number of new daily cases in long-term care centres dropped from 58 in December 2020, to five between Feb. 19 and March 6, two weeks after most workers and residents had received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccination program also led to a drop in the number of deaths in long-term care centres. In December 2020, there was an average of 16 COVID-19 deaths a day in the province's long-term care network, but that number dropped to an average of one between Feb. 19 and March 6, the report said.

"Ultimately, the significant gains in case reduction, hospitalizations and deaths occurred before the second dose of vaccine was administered," the report said.

The report found similar drops in the number of new cases and deaths in private seniors residences.

The initial stages of Quebec's COVID-19 vaccination campaign targeted residents of long-term care centres and seniors residences, who have accounted for eight per cent of COVID-19 infections in the province and 78 per cent of deaths linked to the disease.

Earlier on Thursday, Quebec reported 703 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death linked to the disease. The Health Department said the number of hospitalizations rose by 20, to 198, while 70 people were in intensive care, a drop of one from the day before.

About 88 per cent of residents 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine and 82.5 per cent are considered adequately vaccinated.

According to the Health Department, 31 people were admitted to hospital Wednesday while 11 COVID-19 patients were discharged. It said 21 of the new patients were either not vaccinated against COVID-19 or had received their first dose less than 14 days earlier.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

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