MONTREAL -- Quebecers will have to continue their efforts to adhere to social distancing guidelines if they want to see a drop in COVID-19 cases, new modelling shows.

Quebec's public health institute released projections of the epidemiological evolution of COVID-19 deconfinement measures in the province on Thursday.

If there is weak adherence to physical distancing and isolation measures in the Montreal region, 90 per cent of predictions show an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

With strong adherence, there is still a 50/50 chance that hospitalizations and deaths will go up.

"In the Greater Montreal Area, what we're finding is that half the simulations are going down, and half are going up, but slightly," said researcher Marc Brisson.

Strong adherence to guidelines means 60 to 80 per cent of people follow public health guidelines -- measures including physical distancing of two metres, practicing strict hygiene and wearing face masks in public.

Weak adherence means fewer than 40 per cent of people follow public health guidelines.

The data so far indicate Quebecers are indeed adhering to the rules and therefore the number of deaths and hospitalizations is holding steady and even declining since the last model released on May 7. We are currently following the most optimistic projections for the summer, said public health officials.

The INSPQ's model for COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Montreal area:

Quebec projections

The INSPQ's model for COVID-19 deaths in the Montreal area:

INSPQ predictions for deaths in the Montreal area


Outside the Montreal region, the projections are a little better: 55 per cent of predictions show a slow drop in hospitalization and deaths, and 45 per cent of predictions show a slow increase.

These predictions do not include movement between regions, public health officials said, adding that travel between "hot" and "cold" zones will have repercussions on those regions with fewer cases.


Officials emphasized that the projections could quickly change and would spike if Quebecers relax on the guidelines too much, particularly as more people return to work.

Worst-case scenarios suggest more than 500 people could be hospitalized and another 150 could die per day by mid-summer due to COVID-19.

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