MONTREAL -- Health Minister Christian Dube said Monday that overflow in Quebec's emergency rooms will continue for a few more months.

"We're paying a bit of a price for the pandemic," said Dube.

Over the past weekend, Quebecers were asked to avoid emergency rooms as much as possible at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and Santa Cabrini Hospital -- both located on the eastern part of the Island of Montreal Island.

Dube said the hospitals have "practically reached their maximum capacity."

At the end of June, it was learned that the Baie-Saint-Paul hospital's emergency hours would be limited during the summer.

Dube said Quebecers will have to live with these types of situations for the next few months.

Regarding the operating room expansion at the Santa Cabrini Hospital, Dube said: "Choices had to be made." "After more than a year of COVID-19, the hospital staff is exhausted and badly needs a vacation," said Dube. "But these staff vacations, coupled with the work overload caused by COVID-19, are having an effect on emergency rooms and also on making up for surgeries cancelled during the pandemic."

Dube will need to find solutions to overcome these difficulties and he mentioned the possibility of using private clinics.

The minister is also counting on the acceleration of the vaccination campaign, which should soon allow vaccinators to return to their former duties in the network or to go and help out where the needs are greatest.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 5, 2021.