COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know this weekend
Number of new cases drops after topping 2,000 on Saturday
- Quebec reported 1,691 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths on Sunday.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 151,599 confirmed cases and 7,255 people have died. Here's a guide to the numbers.
- There are 778 people in hospital (an increase of 24), including 102 in intensive care (an increase of six).
- CBC Montreal is collecting stories from Quebecers who have recovered from COVID-19. If you would like to share your experience, please get in touch.
After topping 2,000 new COVID-19 cases in Saturday's report, Quebec's numbers ebbed on Sunday.
However, it's clear the virus is still on the move as another 1,691 people tested positive for the disease.
The government initially reported 2,031 additional COVID-19 cases as of 4 p.m. Friday, which would be the most in a single day since the pandemic began, but it now appears that total may include cases from previous days.
The province's public health research institute, the INSPQ, said Saturday's high numbers may be partly explained by a backlog of confirmed cases from the previous day. But Quebec's public health department has since said that although a computer slowdown affected numbers, the impact was marginal.
"There is an increase in outbreaks and community transmission, particularly in workplaces and schools. There are also outbreaks in the long-term care environments," said Marie-Claude Lacasse, a public health spokesperson, in an email.
"It is absolutely necessary that the population continue its efforts and respect the measures in force."
Avoid Lakeshore emergency room
The situation is putting pressure on the health-care network at a time when thousands of staff are home sick or on preventative leave.
On Sunday, the Lakeshore hospital issued a release asking people to avoid its emergency room.
"With a stretcher occupancy rate of 132 per cent, the Emergency is at full capacity," reads the statement.
"Though the outbreaks are under control, measures must be taken to relieve the pressure on both the Emergency Department and the clinical teams. The CIUSSS is therefore asking the population to use alternatives to hospital emergency departments."
No holiday gatherings
Soaring numbers this week prompted Premier François Legault to tear up the 'moral contract' he'd proposed to Quebecers in order to have pared-down Christmas gatherings.
He was still hopeful as late as Tuesday, but in the two days that followed, the province reported combined totals of 2,984 new infections and 73 deaths, with the number of people in hospital due to the virus climbing well above 700.
Ten-person gatherings will still be allowed in the province's handful of yellow zones. In the dwindling number of orange zones, people will be able to get together in groups of six.
Top COVID-19 stories today
- The pandemic is taking a toll on Quebec's collective mental health. Here's what you can do about it.
- A mayor in the Laurentians is urging Montrealers not to come north to hold large gatherings.
- How Quebec is finally using rapid testing to screen for COVID-19.
- A majority of Canadians are open to getting COVID-19 vaccine, but many want to wait.
- The province is cracking down on crowded malls and stores during the holidays.
- The Maimonides Geriatric Centre transferred most of its patients with COVID-19 to local hospitals.
- Your scarf is not a facemask — and other COVID-19 winter rules from Montreal Public Health.
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.
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.