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Epidemiological characteristics of the COVID-19 spring outbreak in Quebec, Canada: a population-based study

Abstract : Background: By mid-July 2020, more than 108,000 COVID-19 cases had been diagnosed in Canada with more than half in the province of Quebec. In this context, we launched a study to analyze the epidemiological characteristics and the socioeconomic impact of the spring outbreak in the population. Method: We conducted an online survey of the participants of the CARTaGENE population-based cohort, composed of middle-aged and older adults. We collected information on socio-demographic, lifestyle, health condition, COVID-19 related symptoms and COVID-19 testing. We studied the association between these factors and two outcomes: the status of having been tested for SARS-CoV-2 and the status of having received a positive test. These associations were measured with univariate and multivariate analyses using a hybrid tree-based regression model. Results: Among the 8,129 respondents from the CARTaGENE cohort, 649 were tested for COVID-19 and 41 were positive. Medical workers and individuals having a contact with a COVID-19 patient had the highest probabilities of being tested (32% and 42.4%, respectively) and of being positive (17.2% and 13.0%, respectively) among those tested. Approximately 8% of the participants declared that they have experienced at least one of the four COVID-19 related symptoms chosen by the Public Health authorities (fever, cough, dyspnea, anosmia) but were not tested. Results from the tree-based model analyses adjusted on exposure factors showed that the combination of dyspnea, dry cough and fever was highly associated with being tested whereas anosmia, fever, and headache were the most discriminant factors for having a positive test among those tested. During the spring outbreak, more than one third of the participants have experienced a decrease in access to health services. There were gender and age differences in the socioeconomic and emotional impacts of the pandemic. Conclusion: We have shown some discrepancies between the symptoms associated with being tested and being positive. In particular, the anosmia is a major discriminant symptom for positivity whereas ear-nose-throat symptoms seem not to be COVID-19 related. The results also emphasize the need of increasing the accessibility of testing for the general population.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - 2:13:51 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 9:21:23 AM
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Rodolphe Jantzen, Nolwenn Noisel, Sophie Camilleri-Broët, Catherine Labbé, Thibault De Malliard, et al.. Epidemiological characteristics of the COVID-19 spring outbreak in Quebec, Canada: a population-based study. BMC Infectious Diseases, BioMed Central, 2021, 21 (1), pp.435. ⟨10.1186/s12879-021-06002-0⟩. ⟨inserm-03313665⟩



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