Quebec public health projections suggest COVID-19 hospitalizations may go up in February
Relaxing of public health measures is a wildcard, public health report suggests
Public health officials in Quebec are warning that the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions in recent weeks may lead to an increase in hospitalizations in February but they admit it's difficult to say with certainty.
"We shouldn't worry too much but it's quite likely that the lifting of measures will lead to more contagion, with the risk in particular of seeing more hospitalizations," said the interim director of public health, Dr. Luc Boileau, at a news conference Wednesday.
Hospitalizations in Quebec have steadily declined over the last couple of weeks.
"In more recent data and in the last week of January, we note that the decline is starting to slow down. Transmission is decreasing, but less markedly. There's a trend that's changing," Éric Litvak, vice-president of Quebec's institute of public health (INSPQ), told the news conference.
The INSPQ's latest projections released Wednesday suggested things could go either way.
"The new projections suggest that hospitalizations should continue to decline over the course of the coming days/weeks," the institute's report said.
Most projections indicate "the level of current hospitalizations could remain at a high level for several more weeks," the INSPQ concluded.
WATCH | Interim public health director says Quebecers' behaviours is key:
Boileau said much of what happens will depend on the behaviour of Quebecers as measures are relaxed. He said social distancing, masking, and getting vaccinated remain important.
"I'm sure the willingness of the people to respect those measures in reality will help us not to develop new cases of hospitalization," Boileau said.
"But if we are not careful, we may experience some upgrading of them and that will be really sad to see," Boileau added.