Montreal

Quebec hospitals overflowing as province hit with widespread flu

The Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting a steady rise in influenza cases throughout the country and Quebec is no exception.

Public Health Agency of Canada reporting steady rise in influenza cases throughout country, Quebec

Quebec's Health Ministry recommends seeking medical assistance only if you have difficulty breathing and a lingering fever in addition to the other flu symptoms. (CBC)

Emergency rooms in Quebec hospitals are overflowing this holiday season as the flu spreads across the province.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting a steady rise in influenza cases throughout the country and Quebec is no exception. Earlier this month, the agency described the flu as being "widespread" in the province.

The occupancy rate in Quebec hospitals is exceeding 100 per cent capacity in many cases, La Presse Canadienne has learned.

In Quebec City, the Centre hospitalier de l'Université Laval (CHUL) is at 109 per cent and the nearby Hôpital de l'Enfant-Jésus is at 115 per cent.

In Thetford Mines, the hospital is at 160 per cent. On Montreal's South Shore, Anna-Laberge in Châteauguay has nearly doubled its maximum capacity at a rate of 187 per cent.

The Hôpital du Suroit, located in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, has reached 145 per cent.

Over in Longueuil, Pierre-Boucher is up to 120 per cent. 

Montreal hospitals filling up

Montreal hospitals have also seen an influx of patients.

"Our hospitals are bursting to the seams," said Dr. Catherine Farrell, a pediatric intensive care specialist at Sainte-Justine. "Our emergency rooms are really overloaded."

The rate at Hôpital Fleury is at 139 per cent. 

Maisonneuve-Rosemont is reporting 102 per cent.

"Influenza and gastroenteritis are two very contagious infections that are more common during the winter," states the hospital's website. "They can be avoided with simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing."

Most flu cases can be treated at home

According to Santé Montréal's website, eating more, sleeping less, hugs and handshakes are common practice over the holidays, making the spread of viruses and infections more common.

However, it states, there are alternatives to rushing off to the emergency room. Those alternatives start with a call to Info-Santé (811) to get advice from a medical professional.

Most cases of the flu can be treated at home. Quebec's Health Ministry recommends seeking medical assistance only if you have difficulty breathing and a lingering fever in addition to the other flu symptoms.

Last year around this time, the situation was similar as emergency rooms across the province reported being over capacity due to the flu.

With files from La Presse Canadienne

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