COVID-19: all patients will now be screened in the emergency room

COVID-19: tous les patients seront désormais dépistés dans les urgences

All patients who go to the emergency room, whether they have symptoms of the COVID-19 or not, will now have to be tested, in order to increase the number of tests carried out within the population.

The ministry of Health and social Services has been sent to the leaders of institutions of health, in the last hours, new guidelines in respect of the offer of testing.

In this email, the department requires officers to”consistently implement” the new guidelines, including the testing of asymptomatic patients who present to the emergency department. It specifies that it is not necessary, for, wait for getting a result before the admission to the institution or to have their leave.

Patients who have been admitted or will be admitted to units of acute care, such as surgery, should also be screened.

There are currently approximately 7000 admissions which occur on a daily basis in the emergency of Quebec.

“Not the best idea”

The new directive, however, was greeted tièdement by the Association of specialists in emergency medicine of Quebec (ASMUQ), which is concerned about the negative consequences of this decision.

“We are well pleased that the ministry of Health to do a blitz and really try to test more patients. This is good news. However, we really fear for our emergencies,” pointed out the president of the ASMUQ, Dr. Gilbert Boucher.

Several of the emergency of Quebec, with the déconfinement, have found a strong level of goodwill, he noted, so the staff already has his hands full with the treatment of the sickest patients who present in hospitals.

“For us, it means to add staff to do testing of COVID-19 and we don’t really think that this is a good use of resources”, said Dr Boucher.

It is also feared that of patients who did not need to go to the emergency room are all the same to obtain a test, while screening in the clinic is, in his eyes, a lot more productive.

“At this time, it is already testing a lot of people, we are ready to do our part, but test everyone who presents to the emergency department, this may not be the best idea at this time”, he added

Not enough tests

After a peak at 15 375 tests in a day on may 22, fewer Quebecers have been detected in recent days. Last Sunday, only 5200 tests were carried out in the province.

This week, the prime minister François Legault has recognized the need for a plan to increase significantly the number of tests in Quebec.

“It is important, with the déconfinement, test, test, test. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the number of tests,” he hammered on Tuesday, passing in the Beauce region. He added that the government will be so “much more” proactive to convince the population to test for the COVID-19.


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