- On Friday, Quebec reported 1,021 people hospitalized (13 less than the day before), including 45 in intensive care (5 less than the day before).
- The province reported 1,170 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 942,282 confirmed cases and 14,245 people died.
- The province also reported a total of 18,549,998 on Friday. doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 6,623 doses in the last 24 hours.
- 91% of the eligible population of the province (aged five years and older) has received a dose of the vaccine; 87% received two doses and 52% received three doses.
*New cases are those reported to the Government of Quebec only. They are thought to be an underrepresentation of the spread of the virus, given the limited availability of PCR tests and the use of home test kits.
*The Quebec Ministry of Health has announced that it will no longer release its COVID-19 numbers on weekends.
Without ruling out an increase in cases during a possible 6th wave, Canada’s chief public health officer said federal officials are considering whether to maintain federal vaccine mandates.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Dr Theresa Tam said the country’s public health officials were at a “very important moment” and that COVID-19 policies could soon move “from a insistence on requirements to recommendations”.
Currently, passengers must present proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to board an airplane or travel by train. Additionally, the federal government requires vaccinations for federal government employees, workers in federally regulated industries, and the transportation sector.
Tam said the government is reviewing those mandates because the first two doses of the vaccine, while helping to protect against serious illness and death, do not provide adequate protection against the Omicron variant.
She said booster shots are essential because they are even more effective in keeping people out of hospital. But she added that it would be difficult for the government to require reminders, as eligibility varies by age across the country, and those recently infected have been told to wait up to three months before receiving a third dose.
As cases increase in Europe, Tam said Canada could also see increased transmission. In addition to getting vaccinated, she stressed the importance of wearing masks. Many provinces and territories, including Quebec, are adopting fall protection mask requirements.
Opposition castigates Quebec’s Bill 28
Opposition parties in Quebec are criticizing the government’s bill to end the COVID-19 public health emergency in the province, saying it appears to do no such thing.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Christian Dubé tabled Bill 28 which, when passed, will end the exceptional powers granted to the government since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
But the bill has been roundly criticized by opposition parties, who have taken aim at the fact that the government of Prime Minister François Legault wants to retain certain special powers until December 31.
Dubé on Thursday justified maintaining some elements of the state of emergency, saying the government must be able to respond to a possible sixth wave in the fall.
The measures would give the government the power to mobilize vaccination campaigns, have access to certain data and pursue contracts that were signed during the pandemic, he said.
Quebec vaccine against COVID-19 faces rejection from WHO
A plant-based COVID-19 vaccine developed by Quebec biopharmaceutical company Medicago will “most likely” not be approved for emergency use because of the company’s ties to the tobacco industry.
“Because of his connections – he is partly owned by Philip Morris – the process is on hold,” Mariangela Simao, WHO’s deputy director-general for access to medicines, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, said during a briefing. a press conference on Wednesday.
“WHO and the UN have a very strict policy regarding engagement with the tobacco and arms industry, so it is very likely that it will not be accepted for emergency use.”
The vaccine was approved by Health Canada in February for adults aged 18 to 64.
Last October, Canada signed an agreement to buy 20 million doses of the vaccine from Medicago, with an option for 56 million more, and the vaccine is expected to be available to the public in May.
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What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- New or worsening cough.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Sudden loss of sense of smell without stuffy nose.
- Gastrointestinal problems (such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting).
- Sore throat
- Generalized muscle pain.
- Loss of appetite.
If you think you have COVID-19, the government asks you to call 1 877 644-4545 to make an appointment at a testing clinic.
To make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, you can go to the online portal quebec.ca/vaccincovid. You can also call 1-877-644-4545.
You can find information on COVID-19 in the province here and information on the situation in Montreal here.