MONTREAL — Quebecers are being urged to avoid crowded emergency rooms if possible and be careful with gatherings this holiday weekend as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on hospital staffing levels.
The health authorities in Montreal and the surrounding Montérégie and Laval areas have all posted messages on their social media accounts asking people to consult a pharmacist or call the province's 811 health hotline for minor health problems instead of heading to a hospital.
Quebec's health minister has said hospitals are grappling with the dual challenges of COVID-19 and influenza at a time when some 13,000 health workers are off the job for reasons related to the virus.
On Friday, the Outaouais health authority in Western Quebec announced it was suspending hospital visits until further notice, while the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Chaudière-Appalaches regions have recently announced early closures or service reduction at one or more of their facilities.
Meanwhile, health authorities in several regions have posted messages urging people to be careful during Easter gatherings, especially if they will be around vulnerable people.
They're asking people to keep gatherings small, open windows for ventilation and to stay home if they feel they have symptoms of COVID-19 such as fatigue or a scratchy throat.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2022.
The Canadian Press