During an update on the pandemic situation in Quebec on Tuesday afternoon, Health Minister Christian Dubé described the province as still being “in the storm” when it comes to pressure on hospitals.
“The Hospital system remains under a lot of pressure,” Dubé said encouraging people to continue to avoid gathering, follow public health guidelines, and get vaccinated as the main ways to reduce this pressure.
Speaking alongside interim Provincial Public Health Director Luc Boileau and Assistant Deputy Health Minister Lucie Opaterny, Dubé said that although the number of new hospitalizations per day is starting to go down, the rate has yet to stabilize, let alone actually decrease. He also said that many of the healthcare workers who were out on medical leave are now returning, but that a significant number are still absent.
Dubé and Opaterny also encouraged people not to get their hopes up about the newly approved Paxlovid antiviral drugs being implemented on the large-scale because Quebec is only receiving a small number of doses over the next three months. According to Opaterny, the drugs are being targeted to people in very particular situations of vulnerability because of the fact that the province is only receiving about 6,300 treatments in January, 6,200 in February, and 19,000 in March.
Boileau, meanwhile, warned that although there are signs that the rate of hospitalizations is slowing down, there is no telling how long it might plateau at a very high level before it starts to decrease again.
“We will follow the effect of the return to school closely,” he said.
Quebec reported 3,417 hospitalizations on Tuesday, an increase of 36 overall after 336 people were admitted to hospital and 300 were discharged. Just under half of that total were people with primary COVID-19 diagnoses, whereas 52 per cent were in the hospital for another reason.
The province had 289 people in intensive care with Covid on Tuesday after 41 new entries and 38 new discharges, an increase of three from Monday’s report. 240 of those were primary covid cases.
Quebec recorded another 89 new deaths, for a total of 12,453 since the start of the pandemic.
There were 142 people in hospital with Covid in the Eastern Townships on Tuesday, including four in Magog, four in Cowansville, and 16 in Granby. There were 24 in intensive care in the region.
First-dose vaccination of 5–11-year-olds across the province has reached 60 per cent.
Meanwhile, 34 per cent of those eligible to receive a third dose have done so.