Sad record of intensive care hospital patients

The number of hospitalizations has practically tripled in just two weeks, and is now close to 3,000 cases in Quebec, proof that the pandemic is hitting extremely hard this month.

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• Read also: Omicron: Montreal would have reached the peak of cases and hospitalizations

• Read also: Omicron: We must start treating again and bring back the staff despite the risks, says the FMSQ

Yesterday, 2,994 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Quebec. This is almost three times more than at the end of December, when they occupied 1,063 beds, according to the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ).

In intensive care, 272 patients were occupying a bed because of COVID-19 yesterday. This is the record since the start of the pandemic.

In addition, there are twice as many people hospitalized with COVID-19 than exactly a year ago, when they were 1,525.

A hard month

“January is difficult. The combination of Omicron, with sub-optimal vaccination coverage means that we end up with an extremely high number of cases, ”admits Dr.r Karl Weiss, microbiologist-infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.

According to the INSPQ, the hospitalization data for the next few days “will provide a better understanding of the trajectory of the epidemic”, but the peak could be on the way to being reached.

“We are about to go to the peak, and the peak is very high,” Prime Minister François Legault noted yesterday. It is possible in the coming days that the number of hospitalizations will increase. ”

Currently, 14,122 out of 16,100 beds are occupied in Quebec, according to the Ministry of Health. Note that the National Institute of Excellence in Health and Social Services no longer makes predictions about hospitalizations, since the number of positive cases is unreliable.

However, access to hospitals is currently “the number one public health problem”, according to the national director of public health, Dr.r Luc Boileau.

Even though many hospitalized patients who are positive for COVID-19 are not very sick, the isolation protocol to treat them requires more staff. In addition, around 15,000 network employees are absent due to the coronavirus.

People are at risk of dying

Consequence: hundreds of patients per week are desperate to see their surgery be postponed for lack of available beds.

“The system is in the process of relieving everything, we cannot continue like this forever, believes the Dr Weiss. You have to know how to calculate the risks because there are people who will die from not having had surgery or their oncology treatment. ”

Several doctors are calling for a relaxation of the rules for infected workers.

“These rules for zero risk, we can no longer manage that, believes the Dr Gilbert Boucher, president of the association of specialists in emergency medicine of Quebec. Better to have an infected worker than to leave a sick person untreated and unattended. “

JANUARY 13, 2021

  • 1525 hospitalizations
  • 230 intensive care

12 MAY 2020

  • 1866 hospitalizations
  • 194 in intensive care

Source INSPQ

No ICU triage yet

Although the health network is close to a “point of no return”, the application of the intensive care prioritization protocol is not currently being considered.

“In this wave, intensive care rises much less quickly than the other waves, where I was more worried,” reacts Marie-Ève ​​Bouthillier, who led the work of the protocol for the Ministry of Health and Services. social (MSSS).

“But, without being alarmist, I don’t feel my head completely above water. The risk is there, ”she said cautiously.

Recently updated, the prioritization protocol would be initiated with a view to the intensive care beds reaching an overcapacity of more than 200%.

It would serve as a guide for caregivers in choosing who would be entitled to treatment.

Several levels are planned according to the scenarios, but people who have an 80% chance of dying would not be prioritized. Note that this protocol has never been initiated in Quebec.

Appropriate care

“Those who do not receive intensive care will not be abandoned; they will continue to receive other care, the most appropriate to their condition, and possible in the context, ”writes the Ministry of Health and Social Services by email.

“We are under tension, it requires a lot of organization, but we are not at the level of the first wave”, analyzes the Dr François Marquis, intensivist at Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital.

Point of no return ?

Last Tuesday, the Minister of Health Christian Dubé had indicated that the network is approaching a “point of no return”. On this subject, The newspaper did not manage to get more details on what this step of “no return” means from the minister’s office.

Not all of the doctors interviewed had any idea of ​​the indicators that qualify this breaking point.

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