The influenza attack of the front in Quebec

Photo: Guillaume Souvant Agence France-Presse
Fun fact, while flu activity is intense in Quebec, there are as many viruses of the strains A and B that are circulating.

Emergency rooms are under pressure, in particular because of the flu, in the majority of regions of Quebec. The situation is particularly critical in the Montérégie region, where four of the eight emergency department showed Thursday, a rate of occupation of stretchers in excess of 200 %. Friday, two schools exceeded always double their capacity in this area.


The ministry of Health and social Services (HSS) attributes the situation in part to the flu season in full swing, but also to other phenomena, such as an increase in the number of transport ambulance services on the island of Montreal.


Fun fact, while flu activity is intense in Quebec, there are as many viruses of the strains A and B that are circulating. Usually, the influenza B knocked on our door later in the season.


The emergency overflow in the Montérégie region


In Longueuil, the situation is such that the hôpital Pierre-Boucher has prohibited patients presenting to the emergency department to be accompanied, with the exception of children, people with a cognitive impairment or those whose condition is unstable or terminally ill.


Of 203 % on Thursday, the occupancy rate was increased to 183 % on Friday, but the situation was always particularly painful in this emergency, where the lack of space. “This measure will allow to limit the transmission of infections to clients and staff and will facilitate responses to employees and physicians to patients,” said the CISSS de la Montérégie-Est in a notice published Friday.


“We need the space so that the staff can give the best care possible,” says the communications consultant of the CISSS, Magali Dupont. Many patients are more in isolation for flu-like illness.


The hospital Anna-Laberge, Châteauguay, has even posted an occupancy rate of 252 % on Wednesday : the number of cases of flu in patients have justified the opening of a first “clinical influenza” in Quebec for the season. The latter is located at the GMF-U the hyphen in Delson, and the patients can be present this weekend at the need. The hospital Anna-Laberge request to the relatives of hospitalized patients to limit their visits.


Hospitals double their capacity


According to the report of the HSS on the situation in the emergency issued Friday, the occupancy rate on a stretcher reached or exceeded 200% Memphrémagog, at the Centre hospitalier Hotel-Dieu d’amos, at the hôpital Pierre-Le Gardeur hospital, Honoré-Mercier and the hôpital Anna-Laberge.


On Facebook, the leader of the Coalition avenir Québec, François Legault, has described as” unacceptable ” the situation at the hôpital Pierre-Le Gardeur, which had an occupancy rate of 219 % stretchers on Friday.


In Montreal, the average occupancy rate of the stretchers had reached 126 %, with a lot of traffic more important at the hôpital Jean-Talon (150 %), at the jewish General Hospital (183 %), at the Hospital of Verdun (177 %) and the Lakeshore General Hospital (168 %).


In the Laurentians, five of the six emergencies beyond their capabilities Friday.


In the National Capital, the emergency department of the Hospital of the Child Jesus and of the university Institute of cardiology and respirology were busiest on Friday, with occupancy rates on a stretcher in excess of 150 %.


Several emergencies in the Mauricie, Estrie, Outaouais, Abitibi, Chaudière-Appalaches and Laval are also high-traffic.


Influenza B in advance


Impossible to say if the “peak” of flu is reached, but one thing is certain, ” we’re in the big weeks “, confirms Dr. Gaston De Serres. The epidemiologist at the national Institute of public health of Quebec (INSPQ) states that the majority of excess cases compared to last year at the same date are attributable to influenza B. ” is That the player is unusual in the portrait at the moment, because it usually happens at the end of the season “, he said in an interview. These are 737 cases of influenza A, and 352 cases of influenza B have been confirmed in the laboratory for the week ending December 30, which represents only a small part of the real number of patients.


In regards to influenza A, the H3N2 strain that is circulating. In Australia, the flu season precedes ours, and the vaccine was not very effective, according to Dr. De Serres, who cares. Good news, however, the vaccine is generally more effective against influenza B. In addition, the elderly are less likely to contract this strain of the virus. With the two viruses that are circulating at the same time, the season could be more intense, but shorter.


Last year, the rate of efficacy of the vaccine against the flu Has reached 42 %. It was already much better than the last time the H3N2 had been circulated, 2014-2015 : the vaccine had been very effective… zero. Vaccination remains the best way to prevent serious complications, sometimes life-threatening, the flu in at-risk groups, such as the elderly, young children and the chronically ill.