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Reinstating masks in Quebec hospitals? It's up to their CEOs to decide, says Dube

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé says it's up to the heads of health-care establishments to decide whether to reimpose masks as the respiratory virus season approaches.

In a press scrum Thursday morning, Dubé said he preferred to let leaders choose since the situation varies from region to region.

"I leave it up to the various CEOs to do so," he said during a press scrum at the national assembly.

CIUSSS de l'Estrie-CHUS announced Thursday morning it is reimposing masks in its facilities "for an indefinite period" due to numerous outbreaks of COVID-19 in its network. Staff and visitors will have to wear them, but patients and residents will not.

In a press release, the centre stated that more than 100 health-care workers were absent due to the virus, in addition to dozens of outbreaks in hospitals and long-term care facilities (CHSLDs).

However, it added that the situation is under control for the time being.

"The number of cases is on the rise, both among users and among our healthcare workers," said Julie Gagné, assistant to the general manager responsible for infection prevention and control, at a press briefing.

"The vulnerability of our clientele was also taken into account," she added.

The CIUSSS de l'Estrie-CHUS is not the only establishment to have made such a decision. Last week, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) also reintroduced mandatory masks for its health-care staff, in response to a rise in respiratory infections.

According to Quebec government data, hospitalizations related to COVID-19 risen sharply in recent weeks. On Aug. 1, for example, there were 371 hospitalizations, while 1,135 were recorded on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Sept. 21, 2022. Top Stories

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