An impressive number of Quebecers have decided to go on a holiday trip despite the pandemic, a situation that worries the medical community.
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On Friday, more than 12,000 people were expected at Montreal-Trudeau Airport, one of the busiest days at YUL since the start of the health crisis.
Even if the traffic has nothing to do with the figures of previous years, it remains worrying: already, 10 hospitals are in a critical situation with regard to hospitalizations and the load shedding has started.
The return of these travelers could worsen the toll that many were already anticipating for the month of January, with an increase in cases and hospitalizations.
The Dr François Marquis, head of intensive care at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, is among those concerned about this influx of Quebecers who are traveling.
“You have to understand that if they go south for a week and get infected there, they will not be symptomatic when they return. It is especially important to quarantine everything in this world. There are going to be all these people who are going to return to their region and who will become hatching nests. There is a real risk that when January returns, the resources will not be sufficient to be able to accommodate everyone [dans les hôpitaux]”, Explains the intensivist on the airwaves of LCN.
If hospitals become full, medical teams will have to make some heartbreaking choices.
“Two things can happen at this time. The first is that we go back to the paradigm of complete load shedding as in the first wave. The other option that I don’t want to consider, but that exists, is advanced triage; it is to look at the people who arrive at the hospital and to say: who is too sick to be treated? “, laments Dr.r Marquis.
Lack of staff
The biggest challenge facing hospitals is not the lack of physical beds, but the lack of human resources, which are insufficient to meet demand.
“We are the province with the most healthcare professionals who have had to take time off work due to COVID-19. There are contaminations in the activity centers and people must be absent either to wait for the result of their test, or they are positive for COVID, ”explains Denyse Joseph, vice-president of the Interprofessional Federation of health of Quebec.
On Friday, Health Minister Christian Dubé reiterated the importance of keeping contacts to a minimum during the holidays, of not having “parties” to avoid hitting a wall in January.