COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Wednesday
Montreal has at least 44 confirmed or presumed cases of contagious variants, public health director says
- Quebec reported 989 new cases on Wednesday and 34 more deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 272,726 confirmed cases and 10,112 people have died.
- There are 918 people in hospital (a decrease of 22), including 148 in intensive care (an increase of three).
- 3,174 doses of vaccine were administered on Tuesday. A total of 266,590 doses have been administered since Dec. 14, accounting for about three per cent of the population.
- Businesses and other services are gradually reopening. Here's a list of what is open, and what is still closed.
There are currently 44 presumptive or confirmed cases of the new, more contagious COVID-19 variants in the Montreal area, Dr. Mylène Drouin, Montreal's public health director, said Wednesday.
Of those cases, nine have been confirmed through laboratory sequencing, 23 have not yet been formally confirmed and 12 are epidemiologically linked, meaning those infections are thought to have been caught from someone with a confirmed variant case.
"I think we may be missing some [variant cases] at the time we're speaking," Drouin said.
One of the presumptive variant cases is included among over 40 infections in an outbreak at Collège Stanislas, a private school in the Outremont borough, Drouin said.
The variant in that instance is one that was initially discovered in the U.K., as are most of the other known variant cases in the city, she said.
Public health officials are trying to see if there is community transmission of the variants, Drouin said. She said the discovery of the variant case at Stanislas clearly "shows us there are areas that have been affected by a suspect case."
The province is also dealing with cases of transmissible variants of the coronavirus. On Tuesday, it announced two people living in Abitibi-Témiscamingue tested positive for the variant first reported in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Premier François Legault says Quebecers will know more soon about the government's plan to prevent a surge in cases during March break.
Since the virus's first wave, the government has been reluctant to have roadblocks installed, but Legault acknowledged that they may be needed during that week.
"Usually, there's this kind of big soup, a big mix [of people] during March break," Legault said during Tuesday's news conference. "I want to repeat to parents that it's not the time to organize activities with other families, and it's also not the time to ask those who are 65 and older to babysit the kids."
If you have been feeling isolated, we've compiled some ways to help cope as part of a special CBC Quebec project called Out of the Dark: Real Talk on Mental Health.
Top COVID-19 stories today
- Should I wear a mask outdoors? Your COVID-19 questions answered
- Quebec signing more contracts with private clinics to help clear surgery waitlists.
- Quebec urged to list burnout as an 'occupational disease' in update to workplace safety laws.
- Cancer specialists are bracing for patients suffering from more advanced disease due to delays in screening and diagnostic testing during the pandemic.
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.