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COVID-19: Don't get tested for no reason, say Montreal authorities

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Don't get tested for COVID-19 if you don't have any symptoms or have not been in contact with an infected person, Montreal health authorities are urging.

"Many people are going to get tested in anticipation of activities (...) we don't go there to get ready to go to a party," said Sonia Bélanger, president and CEO of Montreal health board, the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, at a news conference Wednesday.

She also pointed out that "almost 20 per cent  of the people' who come to the Hôtel-Dieu screening clinic "come from outside Montreal," which puts even more pressure on the region's hospitals.

With the increase in cases and the arrival of the highly contagious Omicron variant, if people are going to get tested just to be safe, "we won't be able to provide services adequately," she explained. "We have to add resources in the vaccination centres, we have to deal with a possible increase in hospitalizations ... we are not able to add a lot of staff."

"For the past 2 or 3 days, we are really seeing an almost exponential increase" in the presence of Omicron, added Montreal's regional director of public health, Dr. Mylène Drouin, while "as we speak, we are not able to trace all the contacts" of infected people.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 15, 2021 and was produced with financial support from Facebook and The Canadian Press News Fellowships. 

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