Montreal COVID-19 cases plateaued but 'uncomfortable': public health director

Montreal's director of public health said COVID-19 cases on the island have plateaued but that it's an "uncomfortable" plateau as the city remains in the red zone.

Dr. Mylene Drouin said at a news conference Friday that there remains around 250 new novel coronavirus cases per day, and there were 1,648 new cases since last Friday.

"Clearly the virus is still circulating," said Drouin. "The community transmission is going on."

Drouin said that positivity rate remains at around five per cent.

She highlighted high positive rates in the Parc Extention, Saint-Laurent, Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Snowden and Cote-Saint-Luc neighbourhoods.

On the island there are 236 active outbreaks including 93 in schools and 62 in work places.

Drouin said, however, that the number of cases-per-outbreak remains below 10.

Montreal COVID-19 command centre representative Sonia Belanger, who is also president and CEO of the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Ile-de-Montreal said hospital numbers remain stable but that there is concern at the rising number of cases in seniors' residences.

Belanger said there are 156 people who are hospitalized with the disease (17 more than last week), including 26 in intensive care, a decrease of nine.

"We still have a capacity of 1,000 beds in Montreal, so we are clearly below that capacity," said Belanger.

SENIORS' RESIDENCES

The island's health-care centres remain concerned about the rise in cases in senior living centres.

Belanger said there were 15 elderly living environments with at least one confirmed COVID-19 case.

"There aren't any large outbreaks, but we can still observe an upward trend in the number of cases in CHSLDs," said Belanger.

In public seniors' residences, the positive cases went from 41 to 88 over the past week, and in private residences, the cases went from 42 to 47.

FLU VACCINATIONS

Belanger said all slots opened for vaccinations were filled quickly.

Starting Nov. 1, facilities will open new slots that will be able to offer 50,000 new appointments over time.

"During the first week of November, gradually, a number of slots will be added in all clinics," said Belanger.

The free vaccine is administered by risk priority.

LIFTING RESTRICTIONS

Drouin gave some hope that some restrictions may be lifted in the coming weeks.

She said the city is looking at reopening libraries, cultural sites and museums if the numbers go down.

"And give a little bit of breath to the population," she said. "So, for the next two weeks, we have to make a collective effort to reduce our contact."  

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