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COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know on Wednesday

A first case of B1617, a COVID-19 variant first detected in India, has been identified in Quebec's Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec region, according to public health.

First Canadian case of B1617, a COVID-19 variant first detected in India, has been identified in Quebec

The minimum age requirement for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in Quebec is now 45, instead of 55. (Jean-Claude Taliana/CBC)
  • Quebec reported 1,217 new cases on Wednesday and 6 more deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 340,397 confirmed cases and 10,838 people have died. 
  • There are 718 people in hospital (an increase of 22), including 178 in intensive care (an increase of one).
  • 54,410 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours for a total of 2,503,910 since Dec. 14. 

A first case of B1617, a COVID-19 variant first detected in India, has been identified in Quebec's Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec region, according to public health.

Dr. Alain Lamarre, an immunologist and virologist with Quebec's research institute (INRS), says it's not clear if the infection is due to travel abroad. The Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec region region is between Montreal and Quebec City.

This news comes as the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was made available to Quebecers who are between 45 and 79. The vaccine instantly proved popular as walk-in vaccine sites were buzzing Wednesday morning as people showed up for a shot.

Some 47,000 appointments were booked for the next seven days, Quebec public health says.

The change in age eligibility means the AstraZeneca shot is now available to 800,000 Quebecers, but Health Minister Christian Dubé pointed out that only 200,000 doses were available. 

Marie Bureau, who is 51 and newly eligible, was among those who showed up early this morning at the Bill Durnan arena in Côte-des-Neiges to get vaccinated.

"Getting [the vaccine] early is better than waiting," she said. "It's a relief. It's one good thing, done basically."

Previously, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was available only to Quebecers between the ages of 55 and 79, in line with recommendations from the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI). Several provinces lowered the eligible age to 40 years and older.

NACI is expected to update its guidelines as well in the coming days. 

WATCH | Arruda gets vaccinated, and encourages others to follow suit:

Quebec's public health director gets 1st vaccine dose

Canada

2 months ago
1:12
Quebec's Public Health Director, Horacio Arruda, urged citizens to get their COVID-19 shot after he received his first jab Monday morning at a pharmacy in Saint-Eustache, Que. 1:12

A push for vaccinations in Beauce

The province is trying to boost low vaccination numbers in the Chaudière-Appalaches region.

As of today, the regional health authority will set up mobile vaccination sites at some workplaces, hoping to reach people who want to get the shot, but have struggled to make time for it.

Indigenous people living in the Montreal region will also be able to get vaccinated as of Friday. Go here for more information.

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, vomiting).
  • Sore throat, runny or stuffy nose.
  • Generalized muscle pain.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • 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.

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

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Wear a mask or face covering 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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