Influenza, RSV and COVID-19 on the decline across Quebec

MONTREAL — The three respiratory viruses that had been causing chaos in the fall in Quebec hospitals — COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus — are all on the decline, the province's public health research institute said Thursday.

It's unclear, however, whether gatherings during the holidays will lead to a resurgence of one or more of them.

Institut national de santé publique du Québec reported 1,952 new cases of influenza for the seven days ending Dec. 24. That number included 1,943 cases of influenza A and nine cases of influenza B.

The data represents a 31 per cent drop compared with the 2,837 cases of influenza reported in the seven days ending Dec. 17. As well, the test positivity rate dropped over the same period to 17 per cent from 22 per cent.

Earlier this month, Quebec public health director Dr. Luc Boileau expressed concern about a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, but so far, the number of COVID-19 patients has also been on the decline.

For the week ending Dec. 24, the province reported 700 COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from 900 the seven days prior. On Thursday, officials said there were 2,059 patients in hospital with COVID-19, including 711 people who were admitted because of the virus.

And as for RSV, the institute reported 374 infections for the week ending Dec. 24, down from 455 reported the week prior.

In November, health officials recommended that the public wear masks in crowded indoor places because hospitals were battling the trio of respiratory viruses. And in October, the head of the pediatric emergency department at Sainte-Justine hospital in Montreal said his emergency rooms were "completely jammed with patients'' with respiratory viruses, largely driven by RSV.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2022.

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

The Canadian Press