COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know this weekend
- On Friday, Quebec reported 1,637 people in hospital (an increase of 55 from the previous day), including 62 in intensive care (a decrease of two from the previous day).
- The province reported 3,572 new cases of COVID-19 and 30 deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 992,649 confirmed cases, and 14,512 people have died.
- The province also reported a total of 18,818,996 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 35,199 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 no longer reports COVID-19 numbers on the weekend.
‘Torpedo’ samplers track wastewater of McGill student residences
Wastewater from student residences at McGill University is helping administrators get a better idea of how COVID-19 is spreading on campus.
Since September, researchers in a lab inside McGill’s Macdonald Engineering Building, have been using tests to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in what’s being flushed from each residence, whether individuals are symptomatic or not.
Scientists insert 3D-printed plastic samplers, nicknamed “torpedoes” because of their shape, into the exit pipes at the residences.
Monitoring the consecutive days of positivity allows the university to apply different measures at its residences through an alert system: low, medium or high.
New rapid test method
New data suggests that swabbing both cheeks and the back of the throat, before swabbing both nostrils, could yield more accurate rapid test results, interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau said at a virtual news conference Friday.
The practice that has been recommended in Ontario since February.
Details on the new testing procedure are available on the Quebec government’s COVID-19 website, and in an instructional video.
Hospitalizations expected to rise for 2 weeks
Across Canada, more than 5,000 people were in hospital as of April 7, compared to 10,000 at the height of the fifth wave in January, according to new figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The number of deaths has also begun to rise again, from 30 per day at the end of March to 40 as of April 3.
Projections released Wednesday from the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) predict Quebec could see 265 new hospitalizations a day, two weeks from now.
The number of COVID-19 intensive-care patients is also expected to rise over the same period, but is not expected to put significant pressure on the health-care system, the institute projected, despite the current absence of 13,000 workers.
No new restrictions are planned ahead of the Easter long weekend, but Boileau urged people to avoid contact with vulnerable family members if they have symptoms or if they have recently been ill.
Expanding 4th doses
Starting Monday, April 11, fourth doses will be offered to people aged 60 and older.
According to public health, the vast majority of people currently hospitalized in intensive care are in that age group.
Seniors aged 70 and older are already eligible for a fourth dose of the vaccine.
Officials are also continuing to urge all Quebecers to get a third dose. Boileau said Friday that while people under 50 do generally face less risk of serious illness than older Quebecers, they can reduce their risk even further by getting a third dose.
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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.