Earlier this week, the Institut national de santé publique Québec (INSPQ) released a report with predicted scenarios for if deconfinement happens rapidly in the province. The study analyzes the potential evolution and impact of COVID-19 in Greater Montreal, in comparison to the rest of Quebec, depending on the government's decision to continue enforcing confinement or relax the rules.

The study offers two types of scenarios: one optimistic and one pessimistic.

Currently, gatherings remain prohibited in all of Quebec, and there has yet to be any relaxation on social distancing rules announced by the government. 

The gradual reopening of retail stores in the Greater Montreal area has already been pushed back twice now, with the new projected date being May 25.

But, the INSPQ's study prepares for what could happen if deconfinement does occur within the next little while.

The main takeaway from the INSPQ's study was that "depending on current epidemiological conditions, deconfinement could lead to a rapid increase in cases and deaths" in the Greater Montreal area.

We'll look at the findings more in-depth below.

Greater Montreal, the INSPQ confirms within its report, includes the regions of Montréal, Laval, Montérégie, Laurentides, and Lanaudière.

As you can see from the graph above, as of May 8, the region of Montreal alone had 18,435 cases.

And together, the five regions the INSPQ categorizes as Greater Montreal equalled a total of 31,182 cases.

This means the rest of the province's case count is 4,968 altogether.

These numbers demonstrate the reasoning behind splitting the projections into two between Greater Montreal and the rest of Quebec.

INSPQ's report provides two scenarios: an optimistic one and a pessimistic one.

The graphs above look at the projected epidemic curve in Greater Montreal if deconfinement happens. The COVID-19 cases from CHSLDs in the area have been excluded from these projections.

What we learn from the pessimistic scenario is that even if people continue to practice social distancing properly, the situation could still continue to worsen in Greater Montreal.

Looking at the optimistic scenario, we see that the number of COVID-19 cases per day could gradually decrease throughout the summer.

The report also looks at two scenarios for the number of deaths per day that could occur in Greater Montreal.

If the Greater Montreal area holds off on its confinement, the INSPQ predicts that "6 times out of 10 that hospitalizations and deaths would continue to increase and 4 times out of 10 that they would reach a plateau in May and then begin to decrease very slowly thereafter."


As for the Quebec regions outside of the Greater Montreal area, the death toll prediction looks quite different.

"By relaxing distancing measures, we could see a substantial increase in deaths per day in Greater Montreal, while in other regions, deaths would increase slightly," the INSPQ predicts.

Stay tuned for more news.

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