Canada feels the force of the latest wave of covid-19, mainly because of the omicron variant. In the last 24 hours, the country registered more than 21,000 new infections. The situation is of great concern in Quebec, since it accounts for 55% of infections. The health system of the French-speaking province has been affected because some 7,000 of its workers have had to be absent due to being infected; the figure is expected to reach 10,000 in a few days. Faced with this scenario, Christian Dubé, Minister of Health of Quebec, announced that some of the members of the health personnel will be able to continue working, under certain conditions, despite having tested positive in the detection tests.
“We are facing a problem of society. We have more and more patients, but less and less staff to attend to them ”, declared Dubé this Tuesday at a press conference. The minister stressed that the “vertiginous increase in the number of cases does not leave many options.” Christian Dubé and Horacio Arruda, director general of Public Health of Quebec, reported that health workers who have tested positive in a screening test and who do not present symptoms will be able to continue with their tasks, taking into account the priorities and risk management of each center. Dubé and Arruda noted that there will be more details in the coming days. Personnel from other services considered essential are also considered under this new measure, classified by Dubé as a “paradigm shift”.
The Federation of Health and Social Services, Quebec’s largest health workers union, announced in a statement that the directive may pose a risk to more workers. “The mismanagement of the pandemic once again endangers the personnel of the health network and, therefore, the patients,” said its president, Réjean Leclerc, who asked the Government to apply different measures, such as the selection of personnel. , limiting the movement of workers between centers and improving ventilation. The provinces of Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario could follow the same route as Quebec with respect to asymptomatic health workers, according to their authorities.
Christian Dubé stated that vaccination efforts continue in Quebec. Currently, those over 60 and personnel considered essential can receive the third dose. The rest of the population will be able to take an appointment in the first weeks of January. 89% of Quebecers over five years of age have at least one regimen and 82% have received two, while 14% have received all three injections. Dubé spoke directly to the unvaccinated, asking them to think about the burden they place on the health system, as they are those who come to intensive care in proportionally greater numbers. “You are part of the solution,” he said.
Quebec decreed on December 20 the closure of schools, cinemas, bars, gyms and casinos. It also limited home meetings to a maximum of six people from Sunday. The province is evaluating the possibility of shortening the isolation period for individuals with a positive result and no symptoms. This period would go from 10 to five days, as announced on Monday by the United States health authorities.
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