01/07/2014 03:44 EST | Updated 03/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Montreal hospitals experiencing overcrowding

Many of Montreal's hospitals are experiencing emergency-room overcrowding this week as the second wave of this winter's flu season revs up.

St. Mary's Hospital is the busiest on the island to date, with an ER occupancy rate of 213 per cent. 

Hospitals in the Montérégie and Lanaudière regions are also bursting at the seams. Suroît Hospital is reporting that it is 300 per cent overcapacity.

The recent cold snaps, icy conditions and other, usually preventative, medical issues are also contributing to the ER overload.

The jump in trips to the hospital comes every year after the holidays as cases of influenza spike. So far in Quebec, 800 cases of the flu have been reported.

Bruce Diotte of Montérégie paramedics cooperative CÉTAM is reminding Quebecers that the vaccination campaign is well underway and that people in higher-risk groups should seek out the vaccine before the flu has a chance to hit.

He also said Quebecers can call Info-Santé at 811 for a medical opinion before heading to a clinic or a hospital waiting room.

Source: Montreal Public Health