Montreal can delay third wave of COVID-19 by sticking to guidelines, Drouin says
City's public health director says cases are stable, and she hopes to push back another surge
Montreal has been able to bring the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations under control, but Dr. Mylène Drouin warned Wednesday that a third wave of the virus is all but inevitable.
The public health director said the goal now is to postpone its arrival as long as possible, to allow more people to get vaccinated.
"We have to keep measures extremely strict," Drouin said at a news conference.
Drouin said those planning to return to the gym, or stay out later with the curfew now extended to 9:30 p.m., should still adhere to public health guidelines.
"I still want to say to the Montreal population that gatherings inside the house are not allowed," she said.
"We haven't seen outbreaks in those settings for months."
Quebec is aiming to make a vaccine available to everyone by June 24 and those over age 65 by mid-April.
In Montreal, where the province has prioritized vaccinations, the vaccination of the older population could happen sooner.
The percentage of people who have been vaccinated or made an appointment in Montreal breaks down as follows:
Age 85 and over: 76%
Age 80-84: 80%
Age 70-79: 79%
Age 65-69: 70%
Drouin said her public health team has succeeded in keeping COVID-19 cases of the variant first found in the United Kingdom at around 20 per cent.
WATCH | Montreal Public Health Director Dr. Mylène Drouin on prevalence of variants
"This plateau is the combination of your efforts and the aggressive approach of public health," she said.
But she said that percentage is likely to climb, along with the total number of cases, with restrictions loosening.
More activities, she said, will make it more difficult for contact tracers to contain outbreaks.
Several schools where the variant has been identified have closed in recent days, but Drouin said overall, transmission remains under control and outbreaks in schools have been small in size.