Quebec recommends wearing a mask for everyone in busy public places | Coronavirus

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Quebec recommends wearing a mask for everyone in busy public places | Coronavirus

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé (left) with National Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau.

Quebec recommends wearing a mask for everyone in busy public places, except schools and daycares, to deal with “the trio” of respiratory viruses that are causing an overflow in hospitals.

This was announced by the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, at a press briefing on Wednesday in Quebec. The day before, Prime Minister François Legault had declared that it was out of the question to make it compulsory to wear a mask.

We did not want to go towards an obligation. It's really a civic responsibility, said Mr. Dubé, accompanied by the national director of public health, Dr. Luc Boileau, and the assistant deputy minister and coordinator of the new crisis unit, Daniel Desharnais.

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However, the Minister's office specifies that due to the lifting of the state of health emergency, it is impossible for the government to adopt a decree to impose it.

A spicy cocktail is likely to settle in the coming months, exposed Dr. Boileau. The ingredients are the start of the flu season, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which particularly affects young children, and a predictable progression of COVID-19 with a new, more transmissible variant, BQ1.1.

“Our healthcare system is fragile right now, especially with the trio of viruses whose effect is starting to add up on our hospitals. »

—Christian Dubé, Minister of Health of Quebec

In this context, public health also recalled its precautionary instructions in the event of the appearance of respiratory symptoms. It is recommended to stay at home until the fever subsides and to wear a mask in the presence of symptoms such as cough, sore throat or nasal congestion, until to their disappearance. Dr. Boileau also reiterated the importance of hand washing.

As to what is the definition of a busy place, the national public health director talked about closed places where we are surrounded by people whose immune or risk situation we do not really know or if they have been infected recently.

We go to the cinema, to the theater, we are surrounded by other people, we wear the mask, said Dr. Boileau who predicts a more virulent flu season like what is happening elsewhere in the world. the world.

Without forcing it, Quebec recommends wearing a mask in crowded places because of the respiratory viruses that are spreading. Interview with Dr. Cécile Tremblay, microbiologist-infectiologist at the CHUM.

Questioned on the choice to exclude schools and daycare centers in this recommendation, he explained that wearing the permanent mask poses a difficulty in children and that the decision was made following discussions with paediatricians.

Mr. Desharnais said he expected an upsurge in emergency room traffic, but the measures suggested by the ministry's crisis unit should help ease the pressure on hospitals.

The strategy is, on the one hand, to divert people who should be seen elsewhere than in the emergency room and, on the other hand, to ensure that patients who no longer need to be there are discharged.

Minister Dubé provided an update on the implementation of the first three measures of the crisis unit, made up of nurses, doctors and ministry officials.

The deployment of the two specialized nurse practitioner clinics in the Montreal region is going well, assured the elected CAQ member. A third will also see the light of day in December.

The One call, one service initiative for pediatric clients with the 811 line is currently available in the city, as well as in Laval and Montérégie. It will be in Lanaudière and the Laurentians in the coming days, said Mr. Dubé.

Quebec's approach to transferring patients who no longer need ER or hospital care to home accommodation works. The initiative implemented in Montreal has resulted in a 47% reduction in patients designated by the acronym “NSA”, for alternative level of care, since September, according to the minister.

The government has also been using this practice in the Laurentides, Lanaudière and Laval regions since October.

The crisis unit has been working. is recently looking at how to reduce the average length of stay in hospital.

In this sense, the Minister announced the creation of a hospital fluidity team in all hospitals to ensure better follow-up with patients when they enter and leave the hospital, as well as during their stay.

These teams will have a coordination mandate, said Mr. Dubé.

The authorities' message also focused on the the importance of vaccination, including that against influenza in the most vulnerable groups.

At present, free access to the flu vaccine is limited to people who are at higher risk of developing complications, according to an opinion from the Comité sur l'immunization du Québec (CIQ).

To receive the vaccine, the rest of the population must pay a few tens of dollars.

Hounded on the possibility of expanding free to other segments of the population given the context, the Minister of Health replied that this possibility is on the table, but that the recommendation must come first from the CIQ.

If we have to adjust, we will do it very quickly, said Mr. Dubé.

The opposition liberal demands, for its part, free vaccination against influenza for all. It seems obvious to us that if people get vaccinated, there will be less traffic in the emergency room, underlined in the scrum of the Liberal MP André Fortin, sure that this measure would have a positive impact.

Quebec is the only Canadian province that does not offer free universal flu vaccination.

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