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COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Friday

Premier François Legault says moving up the curfew to 8 p.m. in Montreal and Laval will help minimize a surge in variant cases. Emergency measures are extended in the province's hardest-hit areas. Many essential workers can now book appointments to get vaccinated. Here's what you need to know.

Caseload in Montreal and Laval remain stable, but premier says surge is inevitable

Two women take a self portrait as they wait in line at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on Thursday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)
  • Quebec reported 1,683 new cases on Friday and eight more deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 323,094 confirmed cases and 10,726 people have died.
  • There are 569 people in hospital (an increase of three), including 134 in intensive care (an increase of two).
  • 69,148 doses of vaccine were administered in the last 24 hours for a total of 1,754,749 since Dec. 14. 

There are only a few days left before the overnight curfew in Montreal and Laval is moved up from 9:30 to 8 p.m.

The new curfew kicks in on Sunday night.

Premier François Legault says the caseload in Montreal and Laval has remained stable, but he also says a surge in cases is inevitable and the earlier curfew will help mitigate it.

Elsewhere in Quebec, the province is extending emergency measures in several municipalities until April 19.  

Restaurant dining rooms, gyms, hairdressers and other non-essential businesses will remain closed in Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau as well as towns in the Chaudière-Appalaches region. The curfew in those places is also set at 8 p.m.

Chronically ill, essential workers eligible for vaccine

As of today, 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, 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.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said in a tweet that 69,148 vaccine doses were administered Thursday, by far a record number for the province.  Dubé said more than 16,000 of those shots were of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which have been made available at nearly two dozen walk-in clinics across the province.

The Health Ministry issued a document Thursday clarifying what qualifies as a chronic illness or underlying condition.  

Since yesterday, Quebecers over the age of 55 were also eligible to get the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine without having to schedule an appointment.

New mask rules

Also as of yesterday, 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.

Travel restrictions

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

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.  

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.

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

 

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