- On Thursday, Quebec reported 1,953 people in hospital (an increase of 203 from the previous day), including 207 in intensive care (an increase of 16).
- The province reported 15,874 new cases of COVID-19 and 26 new deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 696,182 confirmed cases and 11,846 people have died.
- On Thursday, the province also reported a total of 15,399,427 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 95,350 in the last 24 hours.
- 89 per cent of the eligible population in the province (ages five and up) has received one dose of vaccine, 82 per cent have received two doses, and 20 per cent have received three doses.
The new cases represent 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.
Quebecers 45 and older can now make an appointment for their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Quebec government announced a new timeline for third dose appointments Thursday, in a bid to get more Quebecers vaccinated and stem rising hospitalizations.
The province said that soon, three doses will be the standard for being considered fully vaccinated. The vaccination passport system will all be updated to need three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to access certain services.
Health Minister Christian Dubé did not provide an exact date for the change, only saying it would be made once all Quebecers have been given the chance to get a third dose.
🔔Les dates d’ouverture de prise de rendez-vous pour la dose de rappel pour chaque groupe d’âge ont été devancées!<br><br>Voici la nouvelle séquence prévue 👇 <a href=”https://t.co/KTcIJR1WAg”>pic.twitter.com/KTcIJR1WAg</a>
Hospitalization projections rising
According to the province’s health-care research institute, there could be more than 3,400 Quebecers in hospital with COVID-19 in two weeks.
The institute, known by its French acronym, INESSS, released its latest projections on Thursday.
At least 3,000 of those projected hospitalizations would be for regular beds, INESSS said in a statement, and at least 400 would be patients in the intensive care unit.
According to the latest government update, there were 1,953 Quebecers with COVID-19 occupying both regular hospital beds and those in the ICU as of Wednesday.
Eastern Townships hospitals stretched to the limit
The two Sherbrooke hospitals dedicated to COVID-19 patients in the Eastern Townships have hit full capacity and an overflow unit was set up at the Granby hospital on Thursday. An operating block was converted to free up six beds for anyone from the Brome-Missisquoi and Memphremagog regions who has to be hospitalized because of the virus.
Sophie Séguin, president of the Eastern Townships health-care professionals’ union (SPSCE-FIQ), says around Christmas the region moved to Level 4 triage, the highest alert level for hospitals, and has had to cancel more and more surgeries to free up staff.
Seguin says there are 1,300 health workers in the region who can’t come to work because of COVID-19 and another 300 staff members are awaiting COVID-19 test results.
Vaccine passport to be used at SAQ
Health Minister Christian Dubé confirmed Thursday the vaccination passport will be mandatory to enter the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) and the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) as of Jan. 18. It will also be required for certain non-essential services in the coming weeks.
Dubé said he would consult affected industries before announcing when the measures would come into effect for other stores.
“This is very difficult right now but we are doing all the measures to make sure that we’re minimizing the impact on our personnel, on our system, and we’re going to go through this all together,” he said.
Rapid tests delivery
Quebecers can expect to be able to pick up COVID rapid tests at their local pharmacies by early next week.
Ottawa confirmed it would deliver 31.5 million tests to Quebec by the end of January. About three million rapid tests arrived in the province Wednesday.
Quebec will distribute seven million rapid tests to preschools and elementary school students and staff, and says it’s sticking to its plan of reopening schools by Jan. 17.
The province is currently reserving PCR tests for those in high-risk settings such as hospitals, long-term care homes, detention centres and homeless shelters.
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.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)