Soon the end of the fax machine to count the dead

Bientôt la fin des fax pour compter les morts

Eric Yvan Lemay

Strongly criticized for the counting of the dead from the COVID-19, which is done by fax and by mail, the ministry of Health managed to create a computerized form in just one week. A solution which, however, is not yet used anywhere in the province.

Last week, our Office of investigation, revealed that Quebec accounted for even the death of the COVID-19-by facsimile and by mail, which resulted in errors and delays in the counting of the dead in recent weeks.

More than 200 deaths have been “forgotten” because of the seniors homes or NURSING homes simply do not have sent the faxes of death certificates.


Following the report, prime minister François Legault had promised to put an end to the use of fax to report the deaths related to the COVID-19. The promise was to be carried out in less than seven days.

“By 2020, it is not normal that this be done by mail or by fax “, had been stated by the prime minister in a press conference.

A special team has been put in place to perform the work on an urgent basis. The department ensures that no consultant has been engaged and that there is no software that has been purchased.

“Steps were already underway to computerize this form prior to the last week. We have accelerated the work, ” says the department’s spokesperson, Marie-Claude Lacasse.

The new simplified form allows you to enter certain data, such as the number of the bulletin of death, the place of residence of the deceased, gender, and the information on the person who filled out the death certificate.

The information is then forwarded to the Directorate of public health of the region concerned.

Not implemented everywhere

However, the process is not yet functional everywhere, so that they can continue to use the fax to several locations.

“It is being implanted, but this is not yet active. This system will replace the fax machine, but it still rests on the transmission of the statements by the institutions, ” said Hélène Perrault, information officer at the Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal.

The public health directorate of the Montérégie for its part argues that the electronic form is already in force. The department believes that it will still take a few days for people to get familiar with the new formula.

The government wants to remove the fax machines of the entire network of health care by 2023.

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