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Forecast of the National Institute of Public Health in Quebec | Lifting health measures would put young people at risk

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Lifting health measures to return to pre-pandemic contact levels would lead to a sharp increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations, especially among young people under the age of 12, according to new projections from the National Institute of Public Safety in Quebec (INSPQ).

Alice Gerard Boss

Alice Gerard Boss

The downward trend in the number of cases continues in Quebec, but the number of hospitalizations and deaths continues to rise. Quebec recorded an 11% decrease in cases over one week, but a 17% increase in hospitalizations. The evolution of the fourth wave is still uncertain.

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INSPQ presented two scenarios on Tuesday to illustrate what awaits Quebec in the coming weeks.

First, if the population returns to the level of social contacts observed before the pandemic, the number of cases and hospitalizations may be as high as during the second and third waves. Peak cases and hospitalizations can be reached in October or November.

You will notice the increase mainly in children under 12 years of age. “Children are still at low risk of hospitalization, but if there are many cases, this could increase hospital capacity among young people,” said Mark Bryson, director of the Mathematical Modeling Research Group. and in Health Economics Related to Infectious Diseases from the CHU de Québec Research Center.

Although the risk of complications in children is low, a large number of cases in this group can lead to increased hospitalizations in children. Therefore, INSPQ recommends monitoring of Children’s Hospital capacity.

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Pediatrician Olivier Drouin, of CHU Sainte-Justine, noted that “the capacity of the Children’s Hospital at the moment is really limited, but mainly due to the presence of other respiratory viruses.”

We are in a much more difficult situation than we were during the other waves.

considered ds Olivier Drouin, pediatrician at CHU Sainte-Justine

If the county chooses to lift the measures, the combination of COVID-19 and other circulating viruses will make the situation difficult in children’s hospitals. “Hospitals are already overwhelmed by other viruses, so all cases associated with COVID-19 are going to harm the children’s health system,” said Natalie Grandvaux, a researcher at the Research Laboratory on Host Response to Viral Infections from CHUM.

Keep the measurements

If residents instead decide to keep contacts low in public and at school, INSPQ expects the increase in cases and hospitalizations to be slower and less significant than in previous waves, in most areas of Quebec.

However, experts warn to be careful with the onset of falls. In fact, an increase in contact points indoors as the temperature cools can tilt these projections.

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I think it’s really too early to declare victory over the virus. “We’ve seen elsewhere that when we rejoice very quickly, there can be significant slippages,” Health and Social Services Secretary Christian Duby said at a press conference on Tuesday.

He reminded residents to be careful with the onset of colder weather. Minister Dube said: “We have to remain careful because it’s mid-September, it’s going to get cold, people will go home, and then we know communications won’t have the same effect when we’re there.” interior”.

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Mark Bryson recalls that a similar scenario happened last year.

Right now, we’re seeing some stabilization or even a decrease in cases in certain age groups. We also saw that last year at the same time of year, we saw an increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations with the onset of cold weather.

Marc Brisson, Director of the Research Group in Mathematical Modeling and Health Economics Related to Infectious Diseases at the CHU de Québec Research Center

To avoid such an increase in cases, the INSPQ recommends monitoring of transmission in schools, where vaccination is still not available to young people under the age of 12.

“We have to try to wait until the vaccination is available for children from 5 to 11 years old. We hope that this will happen before the end of 2021,” said Dr.s Darwin.

Until then, experts recommend adequate ventilation in schools, early detection of cases during outbreaks, and maintaining sanitary measures such as frequent hand washing.

In addition to schools, places with low immunization coverage are also more at risk. Dr. said.s Darwin.

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The vaccination campaign continues slowly in the governorate. Just over 7,000 doses were given on Monday, for a total of 12.9 million since the start of the campaign. Thus, 6.7 million Quebecers had at least one dose, or 77.9% of the population, and 6.3 million had two doses, or 73.3%.

With Pierre-Andre Normandin and Fanny Levesque, Journalism

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