COVID-19 hospitalizations have surged in various parts of Canada, with British Columbia experiencing the most significant impact. The province has seen a 58% increase in hospitalizations over just two weeks, accompanied by 24 deaths reported in the last week of September. The rise in hospitalizations corresponds to elevated levels of COVID-19 detected in wastewater across the province. In response, mask mandates in healthcare settings have been reintroduced, and the province is rolling out COVID-19 booster shots and flu vaccines, prioritizing high-risk individuals.
Meanwhile, a study conducted in Quebec has found that between six and ten percent of healthcare workers in the province are experiencing long COVID. A third of these workers are suffering from severe symptoms, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, concentration problems, and memory loss, for over a year. Many healthcare workers with long COVID have struggled to work and have missed significant periods of work. Access to rehabilitation and psychological support services has been challenging for these workers, prompting calls for increased support and awareness.
In Quebec, over 100 long-term care homes are currently facing COVID-19 outbreaks. Maimonides Geriatric Centre, which was severely impacted during the first wave of the pandemic, is now dealing with a new outbreak on multiple floors. Concerns have been raised about the lack of mandatory mask-wearing in the facility, potentially leaving seniors vulnerable to the virus. Experts stress the importance of widespread mask usage, especially in long-term care homes, as a cost-effective measure to reduce transmission. Quebec is set to begin its fall COVID-19 and flu vaccination campaign on October 10.
These developments highlight the ongoing challenges Canada is facing in its fight against COVID-19. British Columbia is grappling with a surge in cases and hospitalizations, leading to the reintroduction of mask mandates and booster shot campaigns. Healthcare workers across the country are experiencing the long-lasting effects of long COVID, necessitating greater support and awareness. In Quebec, long-term care homes are facing COVID-19 outbreaks, emphasizing the importance of protective measures and vaccination campaigns as winter approaches. These circumstances serve as a reminder of the lasting impact of the virus on Canadian communities and healthcare systems.