Ambulance in Quebec hospitals is overcrowded this holiday season as the flu spreads throughout the province.
The Public Health Agency of Canada reports a steady increase in the incidence of influenza throughout the country, and Quebec is no exception. Earlier this month, the agency called the flu "widespread" in the province.
As it became known to La Presse Canadienne, in many cases the rate of workload in Quebec hospitals exceeds 100%.
In Quebec City, Laval University Central Hospital (CHUL) is at 109 percent, and the nearby Enfant Jesus Hospital is at 115 percent.
In Thetford Mines, the hospital is at 160 percent. On the southern coast of Montreal, Anna Laberge in Shatoguya almost doubled the maximum capacity – 187%.
Hôpital du Suroit, located in Salaberry de Valleyfield, has reached 145 percent.
In Longueuil, Pierre-Boucher is up to 120 percent.
Montreal hospitals are filling
Montreal hospitals also saw an influx of patients.
“Our hospitals are breaking down,” said Dr. Catherine Farrell, a specialist in pediatric intensive care in St. Justine. "Our emergency departments are really overloaded."
The level at Hôpital Fleury is 139 percent.
Maisonneuve-Rosemont reports 102 percent.
“Influenza and gastroenteritis are two very contagious infections that are more common in winter,” the hospital website says. “They can be avoided with simple hygiene measures such as hand washing.”
Most flu cases can be treated at home.
According to the Santa Montreal website, it’s common practice during the holidays to eat more, sleep less, hug and shake hands, making the spread of viruses and infections more common.
However, he states that there are alternatives to hurry to the emergency room. These alternatives begin with a call to Info-Santé (811) to consult a healthcare professional.
Most flu cases can be treated at home. The Quebec Ministry of Health recommends seeking medical attention only if you have breathing problems and prolonged fever in addition to other flu symptoms.
At about the same time last year, the situation was similar, as emergency departments throughout the province reported overcrowding due to the flu.