Emergency rooms across Quebec continue to face overcrowding in the new year, with three hospitals in Montreal stretched more than double beyond their capacity.

Health information website Index Santé reported the province’s emergency departments stood at 147 per cent occupancy rate on average Wednesday afternoon.

The Quebec government’s own website said that more than 5,100 people were in its ERs at about the noon hour. The average waiting time to see a doctor, which is calculated based on statistics gathered the previous day, was longer than five hours.

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The situation is even worse in Montreal, where Index Santé says the occupancy rate was at 158 per cent.

What’s more is that three of the city’s ERs topped 200 per cent. The emergency departments at the Jewish General, Lakeshore and LaSalle hospitals all surpassed twice their capacity by late morning.

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The surge comes just a few days after the province issued a plea to Quebecers to avoid ERs if possible.

Last weekend, the province asked people with minor illness to consider accessing health-care through other services. The majority of patients who go to hospital ERs don’t require that level of care, it says.

The Health Department also asked anyone if they have a fever to stay home and is encouraging people to wear a mask if they have symptoms of a respiratory virus.

The plea came after a brief reprieve during Christmas, when the average occupancy rates dropped below 100 per cent for the first time since Nov. 12, 2023.

— with files from The Canadian Press

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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