For the first time in months, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé appeared at a COVID-19 information convention, signalling health officials are involved a couple of rise in hospitalizations.
The variety of hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 in Quebec has risen above 2,000 for the first time since mid-August. While Dubé inspired extra individuals to get booster shots, he additionally sought to reassure Quebecers about the pandemic scenario in the province.
He mentioned greater than 100,000 individuals per week have acquired a booster shot since Aug. 15 and that the variety of individuals in hospital with the virus stays decrease than the earlier wave of instances over the summer time.
Dubé additionally mentioned the new Pfizer bivalent COVID-19 booster will probably be accessible in the coming days in Quebec. The booster is taken into account protected for the 18-to-29 age group, in accordance with the Health Ministry.
“This is not an exponential rise like we noticed beforehand. It’s not being felt in intensive care. It is completely different from the seventh wave in the summer time,” the health minister mentioned, sitting alongside Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau.
Dubé mentioned what’s most worrisome is the rise in instances elsewhere in the world, together with in Europe.
“The health community remains to be fragile. We have to offer ourselves the instruments to guard the community and that is with vaccination,” he mentioned.
Experts say international context trigger for concern
But Roxane Borges Da Silva, a professor at Université de Montréal’s college of public health, mentioned Dube’s message is just too constructive. The scenario is worsening in Europe, she mentioned, including that in France, practically 95,000 new COVID-19 instances had been detected Tuesday and hospitalizations have risen considerably.
“The context is just not so reassuring,” she mentioned in an interview Wednesday, including that the impression of recent variants stays unknown and that the arrival of flu season at a time when COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising may put heavy stress on Quebec’s health-care system.
“Their positivism worries me, as a result of it sends too constructive a message in comparison with the uncertainty that we face this fall,” she mentioned about Dubé and Boileau.
Dubé mentioned the finest option to shield the health-care system is for individuals to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster, including that anybody whose final shot was greater than 5 months in the past, or whose final an infection was greater than three months in the past, ought to get one other dose.
Da Silva mentioned she thinks encouraging individuals to get vaccinated is the proper message, however she added that extra needs to be achieved to advertise.
“It’s essential to ship a reassuring however strict, severe message that it’s completely essential to be vaccinated,” she mentioned.
Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious ailments specialist at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital, mentioned this yr’s flu season is predicted to come back early and be harsher than typical due to a very extreme influenza pressure in circulation and since individuals have been much less uncovered than regular to that virus over the previous two years.
Australia simply skilled its worse flu season in 5 years, he mentioned.
“The flu season hit them early, it hit exhausting, it appeared to trigger a excessive, excessive burden of illness, notably in kids and youngsters.”
Quebec has made the flu vaccine accessible a month forward of schedule, a choice Oughton mentioned he applauds. But he too mentioned extra must be achieved to encourage COVID-19 vaccination.
The authorities, he mentioned, should not rule out bringing again necessary masking in locations the place there are giant public gatherings, if there’s a “sudden surge of extreme viral infections.”
While Dubé mentioned individuals ought to take into consideration carrying masks extra ceaselessly, he added that the authorities has no plans to implement any restrictive public health measures.
“There is not any want at the moment for brand new measures, we simply must put on the masks when it is wanted, and I believe that is crucial, but additionally the key message at present is go get your booster shot as quickly as doable,” Dubé mentioned.
He mentioned anybody who has signs of COVID-19 ought to put on a masks in public indoor areas, calling it “respiratory etiquette.”
Dubé mentioned older and extra at-risk age teams have acquired boosters at a better price than different age teams since August. Thirty 9 per cent of the 70- to 79-years-old group have acquired a booster shot, and 52 per cent of the 80 and over group have.
People who haven’t had a shot of a vaccine towards COVID-19 in the previous 5 months and other people whose final bout of the virus was three or extra months in the past are inspired to get vaccinated.
Boileau, the public health director, struck a extra involved tone.
“With this eighth wave, we’re in a scenario the place clearly there is a rise in circulation of this virus,” Boileau mentioned, including that some variants at the moment are extra contagious than measles.
The Health Ministry is reporting an increase of 207 COVID-19 hospitalizations from the prior day, for a complete of two,030, together with 595 people who find themselves in hospital due to the illness.
It’s the highest variety of individuals in hospital with the illness in Quebec since Aug. 10.
Officials say 52 persons are in intensive care with COVID-19, together with 19 individuals hospitalized due to the illness.
The Health Ministry can be reporting 14 extra deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, together with three that occurred inside the previous 24 hours.