Montreal well being officers say with aggressive contact tracing and mass COVID-19 testing, they hope to delay a extra contagious novel coronavirus variant from turning into dominant within the metropolis till April.
Dr. Mylene Drouin, head of public well being in Montreal, says it’s solely a matter of time earlier than the B.1.1.7 variant — first detected in the UK — takes over in Quebec’s largest metropolis.
“Understanding that the variant is extra transmissible than the present virus that’s circulating … it’s going to take the place of the virus that’s circulating,” Drouin instructed reporters Wednesday. “In our case, we expect if we do our tracing effectively sufficient and we now have the identical compliance of the inhabitants of public well being measures, we might delay till April.”
Neighborhood transmission stays sturdy in Montreal, with about 350 to 400 infections a day, Drouin stated, including that eight to 10 per cent of infections within the metropolis are being recognized as suspected instances of the U.Okay. mutation.
Authorities, she stated, have contained 22 outbreaks linked to the variant since January, primarily in faculties and daycares, by means of intensive and aggressive contact tracing and mass testing.
Drouin stated some modelling suggests if the general public adheres strictly to well being orders, the Montreal space might delay the U.Okay. variant turning into dominant till early spring. Within the meantime, she stated, the purpose is to get as many individuals 70 years previous and older a dose of vaccine.
Beginning Thursday, Quebec residents 85 years previous and older can register for vaccination appointments, which can start subsequent week within the Montreal area. The town expects to obtain 75,000 doses of vaccine subsequent week.
“This vaccination of essentially the most susceptible inhabitants goes to assist us defend them from essentially the most extreme type of the illness,” Drouin stated.
Throughout the province, the variety of suspected instances of coronavirus variants recognized by means of screening jumped by 118, to 602; the variety of confirmed instances remained unchanged at 23 — 19 of them in Montreal.
With the province’s March break developing subsequent week, Drouin urged folks to maintain to their household bubbles and apply COVID-19 public well being guidelines, akin to bodily distancing.
Quebec reported 806 new COVID-19 instances on Wednesday and a pointy improve within the variety of sufferers in intensive care. Well being officers stated hospitalizations dropped by 25, to 655, however the variety of intensive care sufferers jumped by 10, for a complete of 130. They reported 17 extra deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, together with 5 that occurred prior to now 24 hours.
A complete of 8,807 doses of COVID-19 vaccine got on Tuesday, for a complete of 376,910 because the marketing campaign started. About 3.9 per cent of Quebec’s inhabitants has obtained a primary dose.
The province has reported a complete of 284,472 infections and 10,346 deaths linked to the virus. There are 7,988 energetic reported COVID-19 instances in Quebec.
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Feb. 24, 2021.