Montreal·The Latest

COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know this weekend

Quebec City's public health department says it may have detected the first local case of a coronavirus variant, at an elementary school in the city's Cap-Rouge neighbourhood.

Quebec City officials close elementary school after suspected variant case detected

A pedestrian walks past a mural in Montreal this week. (Ivanoh Demers/CBC)
  • Quebec reported 666 new cases on Sunday and 15 deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 282,122 confirmed cases and 10,307 people have died.
  • There are 686 people in hospital (a decrease of 14), including 119 in intensive care (a decrease of one).
  • 13,020 doses of vaccine were administered. A total of 344,900 doses have been administered since Dec. 14.
  • Businesses and other services are gradually reopening. Here's a list of what is open, and what is still closed.

The province appears to be taking a cautious approach to school outbreaks given the risks posed by variant strains of the novel coronavirus, with public health departments implementing total shutdowns at a growing number of schools. 

Public health authorities in Quebec City largely completed mass testing Sunday of all staff and students at an elementary school in Cap-Rouge where they suspected a COVID-19 variant may have been circulating. 

Mass testing campaigns are unfolding at schools in Blainville, north of Montreal, and Saint-Bruno, on Montreal's South Shore, which, like the Quebec City school, have been closed.

Earlier in the week, the Grands-Êtres primary school in Montreal's Saint-Laurent borough shut its doors until after March break because of a suspected variant case. 

Meanwhile, gym owners — and exercise afficionados — are frustrated by the Quebec government's decision to let people swim at indoor pools or skate in arenas, but not work out in gyms.

Wearing a mask while working out isn't recommended and people move around a lot in a gym, increasing the risk of transmission, Quebec's Health Ministry said in a statement.

Gabriel Hardy, Quebec head the Fitness Industry Council of Canada, questions the government's motivation for keeping gyms closed. He said the benefits of keeping fit "largely outweigh the risks when they are supervised correctly."

If you have been feeling isolated, we've compiled some ways to help cope as part of a special CBC Quebec project called Out of the Dark: Real Talk on Mental Health.

Out of the Dark: Small steps

1 year ago
Duration 1:00
It can be tough to know at what point struggling with sadness becomes more than you can bear on your own.

Top COVID-19 stories today

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

  • Fever. 
  • New or worsening cough. 
  • Difficulty breathing. 
  • Sudden loss of smell without a stuffy nose.
  • Gastrointestinal issues (such as nausea, diarrhea). 

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. 

Quebec government reminders for preventing the spread of COVID-19: 

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Wear a mask or face covering when physical distancing is not possible. Wearing a mask is mandatory in enclosed public spaces across the province.
  • Stay at least two metres away from other people as much as possible. 
  • Self-isolate for 14 days after returning from a stay outside the country.

You can find information on COVID-19 in the province here and information on the situation in Montreal here

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