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

The Quebec government is allowing larger gatherings for the holiday period, but guests need to be fully vaccinated for the new rules to apply.

Government softens rules for holiday gatherings

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé (right) and public health director Horacio Arruda will hold a news conference this afternoon on vaccination in the province. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)
  • Quebec reported 1,234 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and five new deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 457,059 confirmed cases and 11,594 people have died.
  • There are 235 people in hospital (an increase of nine), including 58 in intensive care (a decrease of four). 
  • The province has administered 13,798,356 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 20,776 doses in the last 24 hours.
  • 86 per cent of the eligible population in the province (age five and up) has received one dose of vaccine, and 81 per cent has received two doses. 

Note: Quebec's vaccination rate has been adjusted to include five- to 11-year-olds, causing the overall percentage to drop. Vaccinations for the group began last week. 

Quebec's Health Ministry does not publish the number of vaccines administered on weekends and public holidays. 

The Quebec government has announced an easing of public health rules for this holiday season. 

As of Dec. 23, parties can include up to 20 people who are fully vaccinated.

But Health Minister Christian Dubé said it is still important to limit contacts and behave responsibly.

Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda said it would be very unwise for unvaccinated people to hold large gatherings, or for guest lists to include a mix of non-vaccinated and fully protected people.

Booster shots

The Quebec government has announced that health-care workers can now get their booster shots.

Dubé, Arruda and Daniel Paré, director of the vaccination campaign in Quebec, held a news conference at 1 p.m. to announce the details.

Currently in Quebec, booster doses are only available to people over 70, to people with weakened immune systems and to people who had received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

But people aged 60 and over will have to wait for the beginning of January to get theirs. Dubé said the reason for the delay is that the province has just enough staff right now to administer vaccines to seniors, young children and those already eligible for boosters.

Last week, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strongly recommended a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for all Canadians 50 and older.

The recommendation also extends to health-care workers, Indigenous people and those living in congregate care settings and all those who only received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The committee is also recommending Canadians aged 18 to 49 get a third mRNA shot at least six months after they got their second.

Quebec-made vaccine shows 'high efficacy' against COVID-19

A Quebec-made COVID-19 vaccine is now gearing up to be submitted to Health Canada for approval.

Medicago, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Quebec City, said its vaccine has shown high efficacy against infection during Phase 3 clinical trials.

According to a news release, the vaccine's overall efficacy rate against all virus variants studied was 71 per cent, with a higher efficacy rate of 75 per cent against COVID-19 infections from the delta variant.

If licensed in Canada, the shot would be the first COVID-19 vaccine using virus-like particle technology and the first plant-based vaccine ever approved for human use, Brian Ward, medical officer for Medicago, said during a recent interview with CBC News.

"This would be a first for the world," he added, "not just for Quebec and Canada."

No community spread for omicron: public health institute

Quebec's public health institute says it did detailed testing of samples from almost 900 positive COVID tests on Nov. 30 and found that none of them contained the omicron variant.

That one day snapshot seems to indicate that there is no community spread of omicron in the province, the Institut national de santé publique du Québec reported Monday.

At this point, there is still only one case of the variant in Quebec: a traveller who returned from Nigeria in November. Other travellers and their contacts are being followed to see if any have contracted omicron.

Quebec families with kids in daycare get access to rapid-tests

Daycares will be distributing the kits of five tests to parents and guardians, as children under the age of five are still too young to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

A total of 1.5 million tests will be handed out, as part of efforts to reduce the number of outbreaks in daycares and CPEs.

More than half of all outbreaks in the province are now tied to daycares, preschools, and elementary schools.

Hospitalizations expected to rise in coming weeks

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are expected to rise across the province, a government health-care research institute said Thursday.

The number of cases has nearly doubled over the past month, which could correspond to a 30 per cent increase in hospitalizations, the institute, known by its French acronym INESSS, said in a projections report released Thursday.

Those aged 70 and over represent 35 per cent of all hospitalizations in the province, though the number of cases in intensive care has remained stable.

While the increase in cases can be seen across all age groups, young people aged 12 to 17 have been hit the hardest, with cases in that age group increasing by 53 per cent.

The current projections do not account for the omicron variant. The institute said the effect of omicron will be incorporated "when reliable estimates of its transmissibility, severity and [vaccine efficacy] are known."

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 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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