Montreal prepares to face the Omicron variant

Faced with the threat of Omicron, Montreal Public Health went on the offensive. Contacts of people infected with this new variant will be isolated, even if they are adequately vaccinated. Classes could also be closed more quickly if a case is declared.

This is what the regional director of public health of Montreal, the Dre Mylène Drouin, during a press briefing on Wednesday with Sonia Bélanger, President and CEO of the CIUSSS du Center-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal and representative of the COVID-19 command center of the metropolis. With this aggressive approach, authorities hope to ward off community transmission of Omicron, as they did with the Delta variant in wave three in the spring.

For the moment, only one case of the Omicron variant has been identified in Montreal. He is an asymptomatic, doubly vaccinated traveler, currently in isolation. “We have no indication of community transmission,” said Mylène Drouin.

More and more cases of COVID-19

Omicron or not, the number of new cases of COVID-19 has been steadily increasing in Montreal for the past five weeks. There are an average of 250 per day, which corresponds to the peak of the fourth wave in mid-September, said the Dre Drouin. Those under 11 are the most affected. Neighborhoods are also more affected: Anjou, Saint-Léonard, Pointe-aux-Trembles, St-Michel and Côte-des-Neiges.

According to the Dre Drouin, caution is in order while we learn more about Omicron. Many unknowns remain concerning this new variant: its transmissibility, its resistance to the vaccine or not, as well as its dangerousness.

So, Christmas parties for 25 people or not? The Dre Drouin did not issue a recommendation – it is up to Quebec, she replied at first. “I would be more inclined to be on a cautious perspective as we speak,” she added. If there are gatherings, ideally people with vaccines. If you have symptoms, no gathering, go get tested. And if possible, if you’re in a three-and-a-half, 25 in a three-and-a-half, it might not be recommended. “

Same reservation as to parties Office. In a restaurant, a maximum of ten people can be seated at the same table, she recalled. “Anyway, I don’t think there are people who throw big parties with alcohol and dancing and all that,” she continued. For the moment, it is not in the current recommendations. “

Hospitals are preparing

The authorities are closely monitoring the number of hospitalizations. At the time of the press conference, 97 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Montreal, including 31 in intensive care.

At a press briefing, Sonia Bélanger indicated that if necessary, nearly 500 beds could be opened to accommodate the sick. Hospitals would then have to “make choices”. “It means reducing all the surgeries a bit,” she admitted.

However, the impact would be less than in previous waves since all hospitals are now receiving cases of COVID-19, and not just a certain number as in the past. “It is shared over twenty hospitals in Montreal, which means that it allows us to have less impact on surgical activities,” said Sonia Bélanger.

It will take another two weeks to measure the effect of the rise in cases in Quebec on hospitalizations. It is not yet known whether Omicron inflicts more severe symptoms on COVID-19 patients.

Until then, the Dre Drouin encourages the population to be vaccinated. For a week, 5-11 year olds can receive a first dose.

More details will follow.

Watch video

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *