'Critical situation': Quebec sets up beds for COVID-19 patients in hotels as some hospitals near capacity
MONTREAL -- As hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to rise in Quebec, beds are being set up in "unconventional" places like hotel rooms and reception halls, Health Minister Christian Dube said on Friday.
Dube made the announcement at a news conference alongside public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda, where he once again asked Quebecers not to gather over the holidays.
“Yesterday, we reached 1,000 hospitalizations for COVID patients," Dube said. "If we continue this way, we will go beyond our capacity."
The province has 2,164 beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients across the province. As of Friday, 1,011 of them are filled.
"Ten hospitals are in a critical situation currently for COVID beds," Dube said.
The Lakeshore and Verdun hospitals in Montreal are among them, he added.
The others are the Chicoutimi Hospital, the CHUQ in Quebec, the Trois-Rivieres, Pierre-Boucher, Anna-Laberge hospitals, the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Quebec and the CHU in Sherbrooke.
Dube reminded Quebecers that the critical situation in hospitals will result in the postponement of other services, such as surgeries.
“We went from operating at roughly 80 per cent two weeks ago to on average about 50 per cent,” Dube said.
"Unfortunately, we will hit a wall in January" if people decide to gather for Christmas, he said, adding that sales are soaring at SAQs across the province -- which could indicate Quebecers are planning for parties.
"Please think about the people who could have their surgery postponed because some people did not respect the public health measures during the holiday season," Dube said.
Friday's announcement came as health authorities reported 1,773 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the province since the start of the pandemic to 172,801. Of them, 17,732 are active.
Quebec's seven-day average currently stands at about 1,825 new cases per day.
"Over the past few weeks, the situation with COVID in Quebec is worrisome -- we see the cases increasing and we are now on a plateau of approximately 1,800 cases per day," Dube said.
The province also reported that it administered another 896 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, for a total of 3,305 so far across the province.
Friday's updated numbers also added 36 deaths to the province's total, which now stands at 7,671.
Five of the deaths announced on Friday took place in the past 24 hours, 29 more took place between Dec. 11 and 16, and two took place before Dec. 11.
"When the cases increase, hospitalizations and deaths also increase," Dube said.
The City of Montreal reported the highest number of cases across Quebec on Friday, with 609 (total 60,709), followed by Monteregie, with 234 (total 24,042), Quebec City, with 197 (total 15,156), Laval, with 128 (total 14,032), and Lanaudiere, with 104 (total 13,406).
Hospitalizations increased by nine from Thursday to Friday and there are now 1,011 people receiving treatment for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals. Of them, 141 are receiving treatment in the intensive care ward, which is seven more than the total from 24 hours earlier.
Friday's update saw 1,866 more people in Quebec recover from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 147,398.
Quebec reported that it completed analyses of 39,762 COVID-19 samples on Dec. 16 (Quebec reports its daily testing figures from two days prior).