COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Thursday
- On Wednesday, Quebec reported 1,200 people in hospital (an increase of 47 from the previous day), including 60 in intensive care (an decrease of three from the previous day).
- The province reported 3,067 new cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 964,450 confirmed cases, and 14,353 people have died.
- The province also reported a total of 18,631,276 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 8,849 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.
The province’s public health institute (INSPQ) has officially confirmed what many have been suspecting for weeks: Quebec is in its sixth wave of the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been rising since mid-March, and health officials believe they’ll ramp up in the days ahead.
Gaston Des Serres, an epidemiologist at the INSPQ, says it’s unlikely the province will experience the same COVID situation it encountered in December and January, although the severity of the wave will depend largely on the number of contacts the population has in the next few weeks.
Even if there are no official public health measures to reduce contacts, there clearly is a need for the population to minimize the number of contacts if the province hopes to get through this wave with a limited number of patients admitted to the hospital, he said.
Confirmation of this sixth wave comes as Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé kicks off consultations today on his bill to put an end to the health emergency.
Montreal bars, restaurants try to cope with COVID
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.
9 MNAs contract virus
Quebec’s deputy premier is among a growing list of members of the National Assembly who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks.
Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault announced on Twitter Wednesday that she would remain in isolation until Saturday, after she contracted the virus while taking care of her daughter, who tested positive over the weekend.
Nine MNAs have tested positive recently, including Guilbault, Premier François Legault, five other Coalition Avenir Québec members, one Quebec Liberal Party member and one member of Québec Solidaire.
Wednesday’s cabinet meeting was forced online as a result, prompting concerns that the end of the legislative session could be disrupted.
COVID bonus pay extended
Bonus-pay incentives for Quebec health-care workers will be maintained until at least May 14 due to the rising number of COVID-19 case and hospitalizations.
Incentives such as the four per cent and eight per cent bonuses granted to all workers in the health network were poised to be abolished as of April 16, as part of the government’s plan to phase out pandemic measures, but will now be maintained.
These incentives include $1,000 paid per four-week period to encourage workers’ attendance, as well as lump sums of $12,000 to $18,000 to attract and retain full-time nurses in the public network.
The $100 bonus offered to part-time staff who work more than 30 hours per week will also be maintained, as well as double-rate remuneration for employees working overtime.
Other incentives, such as the reimbursement of taxi fares, free meals and the reimbursement of parking expenses for employees who work overtime will also be extended until May 14.
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.