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A commuter rides a near empty subway train in Montreal, on April 22, 2020.Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Quebec’s college of physicians is urging people to wear masks in public as hospitals are battling a trio of respiratory viruses that are filling up emergency rooms.

The order is recommending masks be worn on a “voluntary and preventive basis” in public places, crowded private spaces and on public transit.

It says hospitals are facing a “triple threat” of viruses – COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

A report by the Canadian government for the week ending Nov. 5 found that levels of influenza and RSV across the country are higher than expected for this time of year.

Health Minister Christian Dube has formed a crisis group to try and reduce overcrowding at hospital emergency rooms across Quebec.

The doctors order is reminding the public to be extra careful as the holidays approach and to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

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