COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Thursday
The curfew in Montreal and Laval is moving to 8 p.m. as of Sunday
- Quebec reported 1,609 new cases on Thursday and nine more deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 321,411 confirmed cases and 10,718 people have died.
- There are 566 people in hospital (an increase of 23), including 132 in intensive care (an increase of nine).
- 47,769 doses of vaccine were administered in the last 24 hours for a total of 1,685,046 since Dec. 14.
Premier François Legault has announced that, with the third wave gaining momentum, he is extending emergency measures in three cities until April 19.
Since April 1, schools, restaurant dining rooms, gyms hairdressers and other non-essential businesses have been closed in Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau. The overnight curfew was made earlier, at 8 p.m. instead of 9:30 p.m.
As of Monday, similar restrictions were also applied to several municipalities in the Chaudière-Appalaches region.
Those restrictions were supposed to be in place until April 12. However, on Thursday, the province reported 179 in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, and 436 cases in the Quebec City region, a single-day record.
As for Montreal and Laval, Legault said they are at risk of getting hit by a third-wave of infections, so as a preventive measure, he is moving the curfew from 9:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., starting Sunday evening.
New mask rules
Starting today, people who work indoors will have to wear a procedure mask virtually at all times while on the job, including when they are sitting at their desks.
The province's workplace health and safety board (CNESST) issued the directive based on the threat of COVID-19 variants. The only exceptions are situations where masks jeopardize a person's health and safety, or their ability to learn because someone's lips are covered.
Even with masks, the CNESST is urging workplaces to make sure a two-metre distance between employees is maintained.
Chronically ill, essential workers eligible for vaccine
School staff, daycare workers, police, prison guards and other essential workers who work in Montreal will be able to make appointments on the Clic-Santé website as of Friday, while people age 60 and younger who have high-risk chronic illnesses and receive treatments or consult their doctors in hospitals will be vaccinated as of Monday.
The Health Ministry issued a document Thursday clarifying what qualifies as a chronic illness or underlying condition.
Quebecers over the age of 55 were also eligible to get the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine starting today, without having to schedule an appointment.
Quebec also moved to limit travel to and from the regions less affected by COVID-19. As of today, most people living in orange and red zones are prohibited from travelling to yellow and green zones and face fines if they don't comply.
There are eight specific exceptions, including people travelling for medical reasons, commercial transportation, and people who need to take care of a primary or secondary residence.
Five regions are currently in green or yellow zones, including Nunavik, the Cree territories of James bay, the North Shore, northern Quebec, and the Gaspé-Magdalen Islands.
Top COVID-19 stories today
- Province pulls the plug on Montreal gyms after only 12 days, but experts say it had to be done.
- Authorities are struggling to get rural Quebec residents to follow public health rules.
- COVID-19 shots for school? What needs to happen to get kids in Canada immunized.
- What's behind Quebec's targeted approach to the 3rd wave, and could it work?
- VIDEO | Essential but forgotten? Youth who toil in grocery stores, cafés and restaurants feel the strain.
- Residents in Quebec's COVID-19 hot spots were caught off guard by new restrictions.
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).
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 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.