Breathless hospitals | Emergencies are overflowing in several regions

The holiday season has not yet started as emergency rooms start to overflow across the province. Tuesday noon, Lanaudière hospitals posted average occupancy rates of 172%. In Montérégie, this rate reached 136%. In Montreal, several hospitals had to treat more patients than their capacity allows, notably the Royal Victoria Hospital (152%), Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (170%) and Lakeshore General Hospital (110%).

Posted on December 9, 2020 at 5:00 a.m.

Ariane Lacoursiere
Ariane Lacoursiere

This establishment on the west island of Montreal, designated to welcome COVID-19 patients, has been in an outbreak since November 25. At least four units are affected. As of December 8, five respiratory therapists, three intensive care workers and 15 employees working on the floors were contaminated, learned Press. In all, 35 patients also contracted the disease.

Johanne Riendeau, president of the Union of Healthcare Professionals of the West Island of Montreal, specifies that the 3e southern floor of the hospital, struggling with an outbreak, has been closed in recent days for full decontamination. The West Island of Montreal Integrated University Health and Social Services Center (CIUSSS) indicates that the unit was reopened on Monday, but is operating at 50% of its capacity due to lack of personnel. Patients without COVID-19 are treated there.

Breathless speakers

Mme Riendeau testifies that the staff of the Lakeshore General Hospital, but also of other hospitals in the west of Montreal, are under pressure and tired. “We are drowning in the overload of work,” she said.

In the Lakeshore hospital emergency room, 7 nurses out of 14 were missing on Saturday evening. Managers have been called in to assist, says Mme Riendeau. Sunday, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal asked the population to avoid their emergencies. A demonstration of nurses also took place in front of the hospital.

Faced with the increase in the number of cases of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, the Ministry of Health on Monday asked all establishments in the province to proceed with offloading of activities. Mme Riendeau says the staff in the hospitals is “more than exhausted”. She believes that the government should “very seriously” consider putting Quebec on hiatus during Christmas. “Currently, there are still events, weddings, taking place. Let’s take advantage of the fact that everything is already closed for the holidays. Now is the time to do it instead of regretting afterwards, ”she said. An option that Prime Minister François Legault does not rule out.

In his “Pandemic Notebooks” published in the magazine Québec Science, the head of the intensive care unit at Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital, Dr François Marquis, wrote on Saturday to be “shocked black” by the situation prevailing in Quebec.

While the number of cases explodes, shopping centers are full, plane tickets for the South still flow and the occupancy rate in the chalets is close to 100% for the holiday season.

The Dr François Marquis, head of the intensive care unit at Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital

The Dr Marquis denounces the “I-don’t care” of part of the population. “I cry out from the heart. There are far too many people, in far too many regions, who have decided that they are going to sabotage the collective efforts. These actions will probably prolong the second wave for several weeks. And believe me, the vaccine will not be able to help us. ”

Busier beds

Every day, some intensive care beds can not be opened due to a lack of personnel in Quebec hospitals, notes the president of the Société des intensivistes du Québec, Dr.r Germain Poirier. But with around 100 patients in intensive care now, the situation remains generally under control, he says. “Where it comes in a little more is at the level of overall hospitalizations. Hospitals are starting to be overloaded with COVID patients. ”


The Dr Hoang Duong, president of the Association of specialists in internal medicine of Quebec, confirms that “the workload begins to be trying for the staff and the doctors”.

The Dr Hoang Duong, president of the Association of specialists in internal medicine of Quebec, confirms that “the workload begins to be trying for the staff and the doctors” on the floors.

There are more and more COVID patients. It affects more and more hospitals, in more and more regions.

The Dr Hoang Duong, President of the Association of Internal Medicine Specialists of Quebec

While the province is averaging 1,500 cases per day these days, the Dr Duong predicts an increase in hospitalizations in the coming days. “It will come at the same time as an already busy period,” he says.

– With Gabrielle Duchaine, Press

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