COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Wednesday
- On Monday, Quebec reported 1,407 people in hospital (an increase of 57 from the previous day), including 69 in intensive care (a decrease of three from the previous day).
- The province reported 2,331 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 978,924 confirmed cases, and 14,411 people have died.
- The province also reported a total of 18,716,775 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 8,408 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 Quebec government reversed its decision to lift its mask mandate for indoor public spaces by mid-April and will instead maintain the health measure until at least April 30.
“The virus is still circulating considerably,” said interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau. “We prefer to have a more careful approach and it’s responsible to do this.”
At a news conference Tuesday, Boileau said the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations amid the province’s sixth wave prompted him to recommend maintaining the measure .
The government had said the mask mandate would be removed in all indoor public spaces except transit by April 15, but experts had cautioned that given the recent rapid spread of BA.2, now is not the time to drop masks.
Boileau said the measure will be maintained for the next two weeks and will be regularly re-evaluated by public health officials.
“Our intention is not to keep [masks] forever,” he said.
WATCH | Montreal epidemiologist explains why masks are still necessary:
Expanding 4th doses
Starting today, seniors age 70 and older are eligible for a fourth dose of vaccine.
Last week, Quebec opened access to the fourth dose to Quebecers most vulnerable to serious complications from COVID-19 — seniors over 80, immunocompromised people and residents of seniors’ homes.
But at Tuesday’s news conference, Boileau issued a call for caution for those age 60 and older, saying the vast majority of people currently hospitalized in intensive care are in that age group.
Starting Monday, April 11, fourth doses will be offered to people age 60 and older.
Quebec Public Health is encouraging all Quebecers who have not received their third dose of vaccine to obtain it.
Up to 32,000 daily COVID-19 cases last week: study
Meanwhile, there were between 18,000 and 32,000 new COVID-19 infections per day last week across Quebec, according to an estimate released Friday by Montreal-based research centre, CIRANO.
The data indicates a rise in cases of between 20 per cent and 40 per cent over the previous week.
“It’s a very significant rise — non-negligible and worrisome — especially for those who are vulnerable to COVID and to health workers,” said Roxane Borges Da Silva, a professor at Université de Montréal’s school of public health who worked on the research.
The Quebec government, she said, should strengthen its messaging on COVID-19 and reconsider its plan to lift mask mandates in mid-April.
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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.