Hours extended at Parc-Extension testing clinic
Amid growing worries over the increasing scope and reach of the COVID-19 and its Omicron variant, health authorities across the island of Montreal have started adapting both testing and vaccination measures to respond to a surge in cases.
The COVID-19 Testing Clinic at Parc-Extension CLSC extended its hours as of Dec. 15, to better handle a potential rise in cases. the clinic is now open for walk-in tests from 8:00 am to 7:45 pm, Monday through Friday.
As of Wednesday, the borough Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension saw an increase of 23 cases in 24 hours, with a total of 409 reported cases in the last 14 days. This brings the borough’s average per capita case count above the general average for Montreal. The data also indicates a 5.7 percent positivity rate on all tests administered.
This fits into a bigger trend occurring across the province, with 2,300 new cases detected on Tuesday. With case numbers increasing, various levels of governments are imposing new measures to try and stem the spread.
On Tuesday, Québecs’ Minister for Health and Social Service Christian Dubé announced that the growing threat of the Omicron variant forced them to put in place new health measures.
“You are going to see an increase in cases in the coming days,” the Minister of Health warned Quebecers during a press briefing in Montreal on Tuesday. He also added that they were also expecting the number of hospitalizations to rise over the coming weeks, especially after the Christmas period.
The provincial government has since reimposed mask mandates in the common areas of private seniors’ residences and has recommended that employers reimpose telework orders to all employees who can work from home.
On Thursday, the provincial government announced a series of new measures to address this rising trend in positive cases. As of Monday, the maximum number of people allowed at gatherings will be set at 10 people from a maximum of 3 different households. The government also ordered all businesses, restaurants, amphitheatres and bars to cut capacity by 50%.
The provincial government also announced on Tuesday that it would be offering access to free at-home rapid-testing ahead of the holidays. The rollout will include the free distribution of over 10 million rapid tests at pharmacies throughout the province.
As of Monday, people will have access to up to five free tests a month per person. These will be distributed at 1,900 participating pharmacies across the province to help deal with projected growth in the Omicron variant.
Health Minister Dubé has so far indicated that they had only detected a “limited number” of cases of the new Omicron variant in the province. “However, experts say the situation is likely being underestimated,” said Dubé. “What we know is that experts agree this variant is a lot more transmissible than delta. It travels faster and hits more often,” he added.