Montreal·The Latest

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

Quebec is reporting four more omicron cases. Health-care workers can get booster shots, Quebecers can host larger gatherings with vaccinated guests for the holiday period. Here's what you need to know.

More omicron cases, government softens rules for holiday gatherings

As of Dec. 23, parties can include up to 20 people who are fully vaccinated. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)
  • Quebec reported 1,367 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and two new deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 458,426 confirmed cases and 11,596 people have died.
  • There are 242 people in hospital (an increase of seven), including 59 in intensive care (an increase of one). 
  • The province has administered 13,828,450 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 28,496 doses in the last 24 hours.
  • 87 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. 

Quebec is reporting four additional cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The Health Ministry said in a post on Twitter today that the cases were detected among travellers and that seven more cases are under investigation.

Quebec had previously reported one case of the Omicron variant in the province. It too was travel-related. So far, the province does not appear to have community transmission of the new variant.

Booster shots

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

Health Minister Christian Dubé, Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda and Daniel Paré, director of the vaccination campaign in Quebec, held a news conference Tuesday to announce the details.

Currently in Quebec, booster doses are only available to people over 70, to those 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.

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is strongly recommending 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 age 18 to 49 get a third mRNA shot at least six months after they got their second.

Holiday gathering limits

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 the health minister said it is still important to limit contacts and behave responsibly.

And the province's public health director 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.

Masks back in Quebec City primary schools

The Health Ministry says students in elementary schools in the Quebec City region will have to go back to wearing masks at all times inside the school, even for physical education classes if a two-metre distance cannot be maintained between pupils.

Students at after-school daycare will also wear masks as will anyone on a school bus that transports younger children.

Regional public health authorities say the epidemiological situation is worsening in the area.

The new rules will be in place until school breaks for the holidays and will be reviewed in the New Year.

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."

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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