UAn improvement in the epidemiological situation in the greater Quebec City region will soon allow flexibility. But the return to the red zone in the Capitale-Nationale, Chaudière-Appalaches and Outaouais regions is likely to lead to an increase in cases and hospitalizations, warns the INSPQ.
For now, only elementary schools will reopen their doors next Monday in the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches, with the exception of the Beauce, Etchemins and Bellechasse sectors, where community transmission is strong and where regional hospitals no longer have any leeway. Other special measures in place such as the closure of non-essential businesses and high schools imposed in early April will remain in place.
Even maintaining strong adherence to emergency health measures, returning students to class could lead to an increase in cases, mainly among younger people. Despite this relaxation, hospitalizations could still remain stable or even decrease, predicts Dr. Marc Brisson, director of the Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases Research Group.
“This observation assumes that emergency measures have made it possible to reduce community transmission and that high vaccination coverage will be reached in May,” writes the organization.
In these regions where contamination peaks have been reached in recent weeks, health measures implemented in the orange and red zones would not have been enough to slow the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, observes the INSPQ .
In comparison, “an exponential rise in cases has occurred in Ireland: cases per day increased from 300 to 6,800 between December 10, 2020 and January 10, 2021,” says Dr Brisson.
In Greater Montreal, the INSPQ was “more optimistic” than in its last two projections: health measures have slowed the progression of variants, said during the technical briefing Marc Brisson, director of the Modeling Research Group mathematics of infectious diseases.
If the population maintains strong support for current measures and continues to move in droves to be vaccinated, the INSPQ model predicts a stability or even a decrease in hospitalizations in May.
On the other hand, if health measures are less well respected, “as in last March”, this could cause a significant increase in cases.
With Stéphanie Marin, The Canadian Press