Montreal·The Latest

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

Every adult in Quebec can now book an appointment for a shot. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is no longer being administered as a first dose. A meat plant in the Lower Saint-Lawrence region is closed after more than 100 employees test positive. Here's what you need to know.

Dr. Theresa Tam lays out summer expectations, but no specifics from Quebec

Vaccination appointments are now available to all adult Quebecers. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)
  • Quebec reported 838 new cases on Friday and eight more deaths. 
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 361,820 confirmed cases and 11,025 people have died. 
  • There are 530 people in hospital (an increase of 10), including 123 in intensive care (an increase of two).
  • 110,119 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours for a total of 4,127,768 since Dec. 14.

Quebec hasn't yet announced a plan to loosen restrictions as the rate of vaccination climbs and cases decline, but Health Canada released guidelines of its own on Friday.

Dr. Theresa Tam, the country's chief public health officer, said Canadians who have been vaccinated with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can socialize with close family and friends outdoors over the summer months.

With the vaccine supply ramping up, nearly all Canadians will have access to at least one vaccine dose by June.

Tam said that protection will allow some of the more stringent social distancing measures to be relaxed — but Canadians must continue to avoid indoor gatherings altogether until more people are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's public health director, told Radio-Canada a more detailed roadmap for the province would be announced shortly.

WATCH | Federal health minister on how restrictions can be lifted:

Health minister outlines how public health restrictions can be lifted

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Health Minister Patty Hajdu talks about how many Canadians need to be fully vaccinated before public health restrictions can be lifted. 1:04

All adults now eligible

If you're 18 and older, you can now reserve a spot for your first shot.

All adult Quebecers are now eligible to get vaccinated. They can make an appointment by going to Clic Santé. They will be offered Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots.

The province is expecting to receive 148,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, but that supply will be set aside for second doses only. As of yesterday, Quebec became the fourth province to no longer administer AstraZeneca for first doses. 

There have been concerns regarding the vaccine's link to rare but severe blood clots. Quebec's Health Ministry maintains the vaccine is safe, but it will only be given as a second dose to people who have already received a shot of either AstraZeneca or CoviShield.

The province has also reached a vaccination milestone, having administered more than four million vaccine doses. 

Outbreak at meat plant in Lower Saint-Lawrence

More than 100 employees at a meat plant in Rivière-du-Loup have tested positive for COVID-19, and as of yesterday, it is shut down for ten days.

The company, Les Viandes du Breton, has about 500 employees. Inspectors with the province's workplace health and safety board have been called in, in hopes of getting the outbreak under control. 

The Lower Saint-Lawrence has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the province, with 221 per 100,000 people.   

Top COVID-19 stories

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

With files from The Canadian Press

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