COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Wednesday
Premier François Legault has announced new gathering rules as of Boxing Day
- Quebec reported 6,361 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and two new deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 501,698 confirmed cases and 11,652 people have died.
- There are 445 people in hospital (an increase of 30), including 88 in intensive care (which remains stable compared to the previous day).
- The province has administered 14,523,777 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 83,137 in the last 24 hours.
- 89 per cent of the eligible population in the province (ages five and up) has received one dose of vaccine, and 81 per cent has received two doses.
Quebec's Health Ministry does not publish the number of vaccines administered on weekends and public holidays.
Premier François Legault has announced that as of Dec. 26, indoor gatherings in the province will be limited to six people in an effort to slow the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant and limit hospital admissions.
Legault, Health Minister Christian Dubé and public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda made the announcement in their 6 p.m. update on the COVID-19 situation in the province.
They stopped short of announcing a curfew, which sources told Radio-Canada was discussed in a meeting yesterday evening but eventually dropped.
Businesses and restaurants will remain open and people can still hold indoor gatherings of up to 10 people until the 26th.
Quebec reported more than 6,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. Legault said that number is up to 9,000 for the cases reported in the past 24 hours.
Health authorities are asking Quebecers to fill out the COVID-19 symptom self assessment form online and only head to a testing centre if showing symptoms.
Half of surgeries to be cancelled in Quebec
The province is also preparing for an expected spike in hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant.
Part of the plan is to postpone half of scheduled surgeries to free up space in hospitals, which have been decimated by acute staff shortages, according to Radio-Canada.
Quebec's Health Ministry has also requested help from the Red Cross, according to Radio-Canada.
The hope is that the organization will be able to send specialized teams to work in infection control in institutions struggling with COVID.
The specialized teams were called in to help in the spring of 2020, when the first wave of COVID was overwhelming many of Quebec's long-term care homes.
Montreal attractions closed indefinitely
Montreal's Biodôme, Biosphère and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium are closed and will stay closed until further notice. The grounds of the Botanical Garden are open but not its greenhouses.
The agency that runs the attractions says the closures are due to the public health situation and "directives from the City of Montreal and the government of Quebec."
However, the province has not yet ordered museums to close.
New projections of Omicron impact
Quebec's public health research institute, the INSPQ, has released new projections of the potential impact of the Omicron variant in Quebec.
The best-case scenario shows there could be a peak of about 150 hospitalizations per day by January, with daily cases rising above 6,000 in December, which already happened today.
In a more pessimistic scenario — if Omicron causes severe illness, is highly transmissible, easily evades vaccination immunity and the administration of third doses continues to go slowly — the INSPQ warned of an "exponential increase" in hospitalizations, peaking in January with more than 250 admissions per day.
Don't expect as much data over the holidays
Though Santé Québec publishes case data daily, the government agency said it will stop for the holidays.
The daily dashboards posted to Twitter won't go up Dec. 24 to 26, Dec. 31, or Jan. 1 to 2, 2022.
There will be a pause in news releases from Dec. 25 to 28 and again from Dec. 31 to Jan.4 — leaving only two days with updates, Dec. 29 - 30. Normal weekday publication returns Jan. 5.
Top COVID-19 stories
- Montreal declares state of emergency
- Quebec business owners struggle under weight of newest public health restrictions
- What to do if you think you have the Omicron variant
- Quebec announced new measures including closing schools, bars, and gyms
- Long lines and little stock as Quebec starts rapid test rollout
- Changing plans this holiday season? Here is some advice for facing those tough decisions
- A new COVID benefit is now in effect, but no one can access it
- What you need to know about traveling, gathering, and rapid testing
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, vomiting).
- Sore throat
- Generalized muscle pain.
- 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.
With files from The Canadian Press and Radio-Canada