A new report by Quebec’s national public health institute suggests that the province has done a better job at protecting long-term care centres from COVID-19 outbreaks during the second wave of the pandemic than it did in the spring.
The report comes as Quebec’s Health Department reported that there are now more than 1,000 people in hospital due to the virus for the first time since June and said it plans to have another 21 COVID-19 vaccination sites operational across the province next week.
The report said that between Feb. 23 and July 11 – what it defines as the first wave of the pandemic – 14 per cent of the province’s long-term care centres had more than 50 COVID-19 cases per 100 beds. That dropped to two per cent between Aug. 23 and Nov. 21, what it defines as the second wave, which remains ongoing.
The number of long-term care homes reporting a least one case also declined, from 39 per cent during the first wave, to 26 per cent during the second wave up until Nov. 21, the report said.
While the 40,000 residents of Quebec’s long-term care homes account for around half of one per cent of the province’s population, they’ve accounted for 64 per cent of the deaths associated with COVID-19 in Quebec, according to the public health institute.
Nearly 4,000 people died due to COVID-19-related causes in Quebec’s long-term care centres and private seniors residences during the first wave of the pandemic.
The report said it appears Quebec has done a better job of preventing COVID-19 from spreading to long-term care centres during the second wave than it did during the first.
It said fewer long-term facilities were affected, there were fewer cases per facility and the proportion of fatal cases was lower. “However, it is necessary to remain prudent because the second wave of COVID-19 is not over, and the most recent data suggest an increase in cases in (long-term care centres),” the report reads.
Quebec began vaccinating residents of two long-term care centres, in Montreal and Quebec City, on Monday. More than half of the new vaccination sites are at long-term care facilities.
In a statement, Health Minister Christian Dube said most of the vaccination sites should be operational by Monday and they should have three weeks worth of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Public health authorities reported 1,855 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the province Thursday and 22 additional deaths.
The Health Department said that the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 rose by 27 from the previous day to 1,002. The number of people in intensive care rose to 134, an increase of six.
The Health Department said 969 people in Quebec were vaccinated against the novel coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total to 2,582 people since Monday. It expects 4,875 doses will have been administered by the end of this week.
Quebec has reported 171,028 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 7,635 deaths associated with the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
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