01/10/2015 09:53 EST | Updated 03/12/2015 05:59 EDT

Montreal public health battles high number of flu cases with clinics

Montreal’s public health agency is bolstering its efforts to deal with the mounting number of flu cases on the island.

It is converting seven clinics into specialized “flu clinics,” by boosting staff levels and resources.

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The initiative is an effort to curb the number of flu cases threatening to overwhelm Montreal emergency rooms. Officials say one in 10 people showing up in hospital emergency rooms have flu symptoms.

"The Montreal emergency rooms are experiencing very high occupancy rates, and the pressure on them continues to rise," said Dr. Jacques Ricard, executive director of the Montreal public health agency.

These clinics will be open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. from now until Friday, January 16.

Public Health advises people to call in before going to the clinic to make sure there’s space available.

The agency said it will re-evaluate the situation next week to determine whether flu clinics will stay open beyond the end of this week.

Around 300 people die from influenza annually in Quebec.