Townships numbers lowest in six weeks

By Gordon Lambie
Townships numbers lowest in six weeks

While the situation regarding COVID-19 in the Estrie region remains serious, Regional Public Health Director Dr. Alain Poirier began his weekly update on Monday by saying that the seven-day average number of new cases is the lowest it has been in six weeks.
According to Poirier, the week ending Jan. 16 saw an overall increase of 651 cases in the region, whereas the week before the rate was close to 900. In a similar vein he said that the percentage of tests coming back positive has dropped from 8.2 to 5.5, suggesting that community spread is coming closer to being under control.
“This is very good news,” he noted, while also making a point of saying that he is keeping his optimism on a short leash while working through the complications of the virus’ second wave in the province.
The Estrie recorded 95 new cases of COVID-19 Monday along with one new death from the Saint-Vincent Residence in Sherbrooke. Hospitalizations in the region remained close to but not at or beyond capacity, with 74 out of 79 beds occupied, and 10 out of 25 ICU beds in use. Poirier also spoke in positive terms about the fact that the local healthcare network has managed to remain under capacity, although he said that the system remains prepared to put an overcapacity plan in place should the need arise.
The public health director repeated his position from past weeks that the reopening of schools is not a major concern in terms of new spread or outbreaks, but he suggested that this would be a good time for parents to remind themselves of the symptoms of COVID-19, particularly in light of the fact that there is very limited spread of colds and the flu this winter. He also pointed out that although a wait-and-see period of 24 hours is still recommended for children under six years of age, any school age children should go and get tested immediately.
Speaking to the local vaccination effort, Poirier said that despite the delays brought about by the reduction to Pfizer vaccine orders over the coming weeks, all of the region’s residents and employees in long-term care homes (CHSLDs) should be complete by this coming Thursday.
The province as a whole reported 1,634 new cases on Monday, despite the addition of nearly 200 cases that were supposed to be a part of Sunday’s report. This brought the total number of people infected since the start of the pandemic to 244,348, 215,325 of whom are now considered to have recovered. The data also reported 32 new deaths, for a total of 9,087. After several days in a row of decreases, the number of hospitalizations increased by 31 for a cumulative total of 1,491. Among these, the number of people in intensive care increased by 2, for a total of 217.
There were 6,845 doses of vaccine administered province-wide on Sunday, for a total of 153,539 so far. As of Sunday’s numbers, the regional total for the Estrie was 7,629.

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