One in four Quebec adults developed COVID-19 antibodies between January and mid-March this year, according to a study released Monday by the province’s blood services organization.
The study by Hema-Québec, conducted at the request of the province’s health ministry, used a test that was able to detect COVID-19 antibodies in adult blood donors.
The researchers compared the presence of the antibodies to an earlier sample from the same person taken before the release of the Omicron version.
Using samples donated to the province’s plasma bank, the organization concluded that 27.8 percent of Quebec’s adult population had been infected with COVID-19 in the first 2.one and a half months of the year.
Quebec’s interim director of public health said on February 23 that nearly three million Quebecers, including more than a third of all children, were thought to have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the Omicron wave in December.
The estimate was based on hospitalization modeling that allows authorities to estimate the actual number of cases, as well as a serological study conducted by researchers at Saint-Justine Children’s Hospital in Montreal. The Omicron version of COVID-19 spread to 35 to 40 percent of Quebec’s children, Dr Luc Boileau said at the time.
Children are not included in the HEMA-Quebec study because donors must be 18 years of age and older.
Meanwhile, Quebec health officials on Monday reported four more deaths due to COVID-19 and a 16-person drop in the number of people hospitalized with the virus.
After 85 people were admitted and 101 discharged in the last 24 hours, the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 1,910.
The number of people in the ICU remained stable at 66.
The number of health care workers who were absent due to COVID-19 fell by nearly 1,000 over the weekend, down from the 7,337 reported on Friday, to 6,357.
The government also reported another 622 new COVID-19 cases detected by PCR test, which officials say is an underestimate as testing is limited to certain groups.
On Monday, the official number of COVID-19 cases in the province stood at 1,052,637.