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Quebec Is Officially Recommending Masks Again — Under Certain Circumstances

Due to what doctors have called a "triple threat" of viruses right now.

Christian Dubé at a press conference.

Christian Dubé at a press conference.

Public health is officially recommending that Quebecers of all ages wear a mask in crowded public places, with the exception of schools and daycares, amid an uptick in viral diseases. Health Minister Christian Dubé made the announcement Wednesday.

Quebec’s Collège des médecins has called current outbreaks of the flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) in children and the continuing circulation of COVID-19 a "triple threat." Dubé said Wednesday that the circumstances have made the health system particularly "fragile."

He suggested mask-wearing was especially critical for people who exhibit symptoms of these viral diseases. He also asked people with fevers to stay home.

The minister's third request was for Quebecers to practice good hygiene by washing their hands, especially as a way to prevent infection by the influenza virus.

Dubé further recapped the measures the government has taken to address an overcrowding crisis in the province's emergency rooms.

The first is the opening of temporary clinics run by nurse practitioners in Montreal. The first, Dubé said, is scheduled to open in the East End on November 21. According to a timeline outlined by the Ministry of Health, four more such clinics, in the Centre-Sud, Verdun and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, are due to open in December.

Another initiative is a so-called "one call, one service" protocol for pediatrics through 811.

Newly announced Wednesday was the creation of "hospital flow teams" (équipes de fluidité), whose mandate, according to a ministry press release, will include making sure that "patients whose condition no longer requires hospitalization and who can be discharged home can be discharged in a timely manner."

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

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