In another uncomfortable indication of a lack of openness throughout the pandemic, Montreal’s public health department has decreased to provide the current data on COVID-19 cases linked to bars after launching data for most of the week.
Authorities haven’t explained why they couldn’t make public the figures on Thursday and Friday besides to state the information has actually been submitted to the Quebec Health Ministry.
” I’m not the one who chooses to release the data,” stated Jean Nicolas Aubé, a representative for the public health department. “Every time we do a press conference it’s a decision that is taken by Santé publique in collaboration with the Quebec Health Ministry.”
” I’m not stating the data don’t exist,” Aubé included. “I don’t have anything for today. That’s all I can state.”
On Thursday, an official assured to “share” the bar data Friday. The choice to keep the statistics comes after authorities last Saturday prompted anyone who’s been to a Montreal bar considering that July 1 to get tested for the coronavirus.
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That statement triggered enormous lineups for tests, with some individuals waiting as long as 5 hours outside the Hôtel-Dieu screening center. On Saturday, Dr. David Kaiser revealed that a minimum of 8 COVID-19 cases were traced to five bars.
Officials then launched figures on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with Wednesday’s tally proving 15 new cases tied to bars and clubs. The cumulative overall increased to45 What’s more, the number of bars under examination leapt to 14, and in 6 of them there were more than one case.
Yet on Friday, Premier François Legault declared he would keep bars open after stating earlier in the week he wouldn’t rule out closing them if they published big increases.
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” There are those who are attributing the increase in cases to people frequenting the bars,” Legault said. “It’s not the case. Public health has not suggested that we close bars. We will continue to follow the scenario in the bars.”
The premier noted that of the 141 new cases in the past 24 hours in Quebec, 97 involved health care workers. He did not point out figures for bars.
Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s chief public health officer, held a different news conference Friday in which he approximated that 35 per cent of present cases have actually been traced to outbreaks in families and less than 5 per cent in bars.
Nevertheless, Arruda’s portion for bars does not appear to show the reality in Montreal, a minimum of for Wednesday. On that day, the 15 new bar cases represented 21 percent of the 72 infections reported in the city. And provided the high level of screening among mostly young Montrealers all week, it’s most likely there have been extra bar-related cases given that Wednesday.
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All this could be clarified if authorities would launch the data.
The most recent statistics for Montreal also raise doubts that the lion’s share of brand-new cases in the city develop from health-care workers. On Wednesday, the health department launched its most current weekly report for the metropolis, revealing that the large bulk of brand-new cases remained in the neighborhood beyond medical facilities and eldercare homes.
On July 5, the director of the Montérégie public health department attracted anyone who went to the Mile Public House on the night of June 30 to get evaluated after an outbreak at the Brossard bar. Dr. Julie Loslier also attributed a spike in cases to 2 houseparty.
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Last Saturday, Kaiser spoke at length about cases in bars in the city, and on Tuesday, he went over house parties, too Neither Loslier nor Kaiser have referred to transmission of the infection amongst health workers.
It holds true that 84 health employees got contaminated at the Hôpital régional de Saint-Jérôme following a break out, but that was more than a week ago. On Friday, the health authority in the Laurentians announced 5 hockey players who took part in a tournament in Mirabel contracted the respiratory disease.
There’s no doubt health workers are responsible for many COVID-19 cases. But Montreal and three off-island areas– the Montérégie, the Laurentians and the Laurentides– have all observed a resurgence in the previous week that coincides with house parties and bar owners closing their facilities temporarily after some personnel and consumers captured the coronavirus.
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During the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, the premier withheld for more than 2 weeks information on long-term centres, stating it needed to be “tidied up.” On the Fête nationale, Quebec switched from daily to weekly updates before reversing that decision in the middle of a public outcry.
On Friday night, the ministry responded to a Montreal Gazette ask for a breakdown in cases, but included averages returning a minimum of 10 days and not for the past 24 hours. With a lot at stake, we owe it to the countless people who waited hours this week for tests to divulge the COVID-19 data in bars.