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COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know this weekend

As of Sunday, the province is capping private gatherings at six people or two family bubbles, after reporting more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19 on Friday and another 9,206 Saturday. Here's what you need to know.

Quebec's new gathering limits come into effect Sunday

Starting Sunday, the province is capping private gatherings at six people or two family bubbles, after reporting more than 10,000 cases of the coronavirus on Friday and another 9,206 yesterday. (Olivier Plante/Radio-Canada)
  • Quebec reported 9,397 new cases of COVID-19 on Dec. 23 and six new deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 511,095 confirmed cases and 11,658 people have died.
  • There are 473 people in hospital (an increase of 28), including 91 in intensive care (an increase of three). 
  • The province has administered 14,619,762 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • 89 per cent of the eligible population in the province (ages five and up) has received one dose of vaccine, 81 per cent has received two doses, and 11 per cent have received boosters.

Quebec's Health Ministry does not publish the number of vaccines administered on weekends and public holidays. It will not be publishing daily COVID-19 data on Dec. 24, 25, and 26, as well as Dec. 31, Jan. 1 and 2. 


New public health restrictions come into effect in Quebec today as COVID-19 case counts soar across the country.

The province is capping private gatherings at six people or two family bubbles as it reported another 7,874 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths on Sunday. 

Restaurants are now also limited to serving groups of six, or two family bubbles — down from 10 people and three households.

Bars, gyms, movie theatres, concert venues and spas remain closed until further notice. 

The highly infectious Omicron variant of the virus has been driving a surge in COVID-19 cases across much of Canada in recent weeks.

Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has said Omicron has become the dominant variant in several provinces.

Tighter restrictions for CHSLDs

Quebec has tightened rules at long-term care homes and at seniors residences. Residents of long-term care homes will not be permitted to leave for private holiday gatherings and will only be allowed one visitor at a time, for a maximum of two visitors per day.

"The Omicron variant is more contagious than anything seen since the start of the pandemic," Legault wrote in a Christmas message posted to Facebook. "I count on your judgment to respect the instructions and to be careful."

Outings are still permitted at seniors residences, but residents will only be allowed a maximum of four visitors a day for the holiday period.

Legault called on Quebecers to reach out to those alone during the holidays or who are isolating because of a positive COVID-19 test result, and he acknowledged the courage and dedication of health workers.

"The next few weeks are going to be difficult," Legault wrote. "It will be very important to continue our efforts and to stick together, even if we are tired."

Several Montreal hospitals restrict visitors

Multiple Montreal hospitals have suspended or restricted visitors, as of Sunday, as COVID-19 cases — driven by the Omicron variant — surge across the city.

As of 8 a.m. on Dec. 26, "all patient visits will be prohibited until further notice, except for a few exceptions," the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) said on Saturday.

Those exceptions include end-of-life care, medical assistance in dying and childbirth. 

On Friday, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) announced it is also restricting visits in intensive care and critical care units at the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital and the Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital.

For a two-week period starting at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, visits will only be allowed in end-of-life situations or based on the clinical judgment of the care team, the health-care network said in a statement. 

The health-centres say the restrictions are intended to keep both staff and the hospitals' most vulnerable patients safe. 

New vaccination site opens in Montreal

A new vaccination site is open at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital, offering a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine by appointment to those who are eligible.

The site began operating on Sunday and will be open every day, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Appointments can be made through the provincial website or by calling: 514-644-4545. 

Additionally, two other vaccination sites, one at Decarie Square and the other at 7101 Parc Avenue, are offering the Moderna vaccine without appointment while supplies last.

Montreal health officials warn of 'critical time'

Montreal's director of public health says it's now a critical time for the city's health network as the holidays approach and case numbers continue to grow exponentially. 

Dr. Mylène Drouin provided an update of the COVID-19 situation in the city on Thursday alongside Sonia Bélanger, who runs the health authority for the city's downtown area, the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal.

Bélanger noted hospitalizations in Montreal have jumped by over 60 per cent, with most patients infected with the Delta variant.

Omicron is particularly hitting young Montrealers aged 18-44, Drouin said. The age group accounts for 60 per cent of the cases.

The positivity rate in Montreal is hovering around 18-20 per cent, meaning one in five people who do receive a PCR test are positive. 

WATCH: What Quebecers need to know about rapid tests:

Your questions answered about rapid tests in Quebec

5 months ago
Duration 3:32
Rapid tests are becoming a key tool for Quebecers as COVID-19 cases skyrocket. Here are answers to the questions asked by the CBC Montreal audience.

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
  •    
  • 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.

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 and Radio-Canada

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