COVID-19 sees a resurgence in June, the sewers say so
Does the pandemic have a boost of energy at the start of summer? According to the sewers, yes. But the worst could already be reached. Data collected from wastewater, released for the first time yesterday, shows an increase in the circulation of the COVID-19 virus in Montreal in June, with a plateau for the past few days.
The data, published on the INSPQ website, shows a clear resurgence in the presence of COVID-19 in Montreal’s wastewater from June 6. The peak appears to have been reached on June 12, with more than 12.4 trillion virus particles detected. The trend is slightly downward for the next three days, the last of the report currently available.
According to Dr. Caroline Huot, medical specialist in the environmental, occupational and toxicology department at the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, this assessment should not, however, sound the alarm.
“The absolute values don’t indicate much because there is no range of interpretation saying that 40,000 billion [de particules virales], it’s a lot, and that 10,000 billion is not a lot”, she underlines. “The variability is quite significant. [À partir de ces chiffres]we have nothing to worry about at the moment.”
No new health measures
This increase in the presence of COVID-19 in wastewater comes as sanitary measures have essentially disappeared in Quebec. At the time of the most recent data, the only major health measure still present was the wearing of masks on buses. Since then, this measure has also fallen.
But Dr. Huot points out that, despite the graph showing a significant peak, it is impossible to equate the current situation to the sixth wave in March and April. Data was not collected early enough to reflect the height of COVID-19 circulation this spring.
In other cities, such as Quebec, Laval and Gatineau, the peak in June is less important. The downward trend is also more marked. Specifically in Quebec, where data from the end of March are available, we note that the virus is much less present in wastewater than during the sixth wave.
According to Dr. Huot, there is nothing to accuse the government of having relaxed too abruptly the sanitary rules or to demand their return.
Increase in future hospitalizations
However, these figures confirm the increase in the number of cases recently reported by the government. At the same time, the National Institute of Health and Social Services (INESSS) published its hospitalization projections for the next two weeks on Wednesday. The INESSS prognosis shows a future increase in hospitalizations, at a rate of 100 per day on average.
The government’s latest daily report shows a slight decrease in hospitalizations, which now reach 1,080 patients, including 30 in intensive care. According to the government and INESSS, about half of these people are hospitalized specifically for COVID-19, while the others tested positive when admitted to hospital for something else.
Screening for the COVID-19 virus in wastewater is a method put in place by the government to quickly detect the arrival of a potential 7e vague. From now on, the data will be updated weekly by the INSPQ.
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