February 26th, 2024

Occupancy rates surging at Quebec emergency rooms after dropping earlier this month

By Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press on December 27, 2023.

A paramedic loads a stretcher into an ambulance after bringing a patient to the emergency room at a hospital in Montreal, Thursday, April 14, 2022. The occupancy rate in Quebec's emergency rooms is shooting up again after a small period of reprieve that began Dec. 19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL – Occupancy rates in Quebec’s emergency rooms are shooting up again after a small period of reprieve that began Dec. 19.

Website Index Santé shows the average ER occupancy rate at six a.m. was 112 per cent, up from 95 per cent the previous day.

Eight of Quebec’s regions showed a rate of over 100 per cent, including Montreal at 118 per cent, the Laurentians at 148 per cent, and 138 per cent in Lanaudière.

The situation was slightly better in Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches, where rates ranged between 92 and 96 per cent as of this morning, as well as in Estrie and the North Shore, which showed 96 and 80 per cent occupancy.

The average wait time on Tuesday was a little over four and a half hours, but that rose to 15 hours and 40 minutes for people waiting on stretchers.

Last week the province’s health minister asked Quebecers to avoid ERs, noting that a large percentage of people who go for a consult there don’t have an urgent health problem.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 27, 2023.

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