COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Friday
- On Wednesday, Quebec reported 1,238 people in hospital (an increase of 38 from the previous day), including 66 in intensive care (an increase of six from the previous day).
- The province reported 3,319 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 967,769 confirmed cases, and 14,365 people have died.
- The province also reported a total of 18,648,742 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 17,145 doses in the last 24 hours.
- 91 per cent of the eligible population in the province (aged five and up) have received one dose of the vaccine; 87 per cent have received two doses, and 53 per cent have received three doses.
*The new cases are those reported to the Quebec government only. They are believed to be an underrepresentation of the virus’s spread, given the limited availability of PCR tests and use of home testing kits.
*Quebec’s Health Ministry announced it will no longer report its COVID-19 numbers on the weekend.
A top infectious diseases specialist in Quebec says as the sixth wave of the pandemic accelerates across the province, the government should be doing more to curb it.
On Thursday, Quebec’s Health Minister Christian Dubé said mask mandates are still expected to be lifted in two weeks, despite surging cases of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and differing views from the province’s public health director.
But infectious disease specialist Dr. Cécile Tremblay said the government must do more to protect hospital capacity. She says the province’s health-care system could soon become overwhelmed — once again — with 10,000 health-care workers already off the job.
“I don’t think the [government] message is appropriate to what the situation is right now,” Tremblay said, noting it leaves at-risk populations to fend for themselves.
While she’s not in favour of another complete shutdown, Tremblay is calling on the government to keep masking restrictions and to reduce capacity in some businesses where the risk of infection is greater, such as restaurants.
“The pandemic is not over and this sixth wave is probably going to be as bad as the fifth one. We should at least have the same sense of urgency,” Tremblay said.
More restrictions not part of the plan: health minister
Quebec’s interim public health director says he’s not ruling out maintaining the masking measure, as well as the possibility of reimposing some health measures in the wake of another surge in COVID-19 cases. But Health Minister Christian Dubé says the government has no plan to add restrictions.
Dr. Luc Boileau said he will be monitoring the situation closely, but is counting on the good sense of Quebecers to be careful and to reduce their contacts.
“All options are on the table,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dubé told reporters “there is no reason for the moment [… ] to change the strategy” as “people have to learn to live with the virus.”
Next week, Dr. Boileau plans to make his recommendations to the Quebec government regarding the wearing of masks in public places.
Confirmation of this sixth wave comes as Dubé kicked off consultations on his bill to put an end to the health emergency.
Montreal bars, restaurants try to cope with COVID
Meanwhile, some Montreal businesses are suffering once again as a rise in COVID-19 cases appears to be affecting staffing, particularly in bars and restaurants.
A handful have had to close temporarily, with several employees being infected at once. But industry leaders say too many establishments will disappear for good if the provincial government calls for dining rooms to close again.
The Quebec Restaurant Association is calling on the government not to close restaurants during the sixth wave, but leave the responsibility of protecting customers up to owners.
“We see that the restaurant industry wants to do their part … and will close their restaurants down if they need to do so,” said Martin Vézina, the vice-president of governmental affairs for the association.
Top COVID-19 stories
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- New or worsening cough.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Sudden loss of smell without a stuffy nose.
- Gastrointestinal issues (such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting).
- Sore throat
- Generalized muscle pain.
- Loss of appetite.
If you think you may have COVID-19, the government asks that you call 1‑877‑644‑4545 to schedule an appointment at a screening clinic.
To reserve an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, you can go on the online portal quebec.ca/covidvaccine. You can also call 1-877-644-4545.