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Quebec ER overcrowding will ‘continue to be difficult,’ says health minister

MONTREAL — Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé had mostly bad news in his first update of the year on the province’s emergency room network.

With emergency departments across the province today at 137 per cent capacity on average, Dubé told reporters the situation would continue to be difficult for some time.

He says about 1,900 people a day are visiting emergency rooms for respiratory viruses, a rate roughly double what was seen at the same time last year.

As well, Dubé says more people over the age of 65 are going to ERs, which results in more complex cases.

The health minister says almost half of the daily ER visits are for ailments that aren’t urgent and can be treated at walk-in clinics or with family doctors.

But the news is not all bad, as Dubé says workers who took time off for the holidays are returning to the health system this week and easing pressure on overworked staff.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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