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

The company that makes one of the coronavirus vaccines is working to expand its production, leading to temporary delays in deliveries. Quebec is rejigging its vaccination schedule as a result. Here's what you need to know.

Delays in vaccine delivery from Pfizer force Quebec to rejig its immunization schedule

A woman cross-country skis along the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal. (The Canadian Press)
  • Quebec reported 1,744 new cases on Sunday and 50 more deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 242,714 confirmed cases and 9,055 people have died. Here's a guide to the numbers
  • There are 1,460 people in hospital (a decrease of 14), including 215 in intensive care (a decrease of 12).
  • 10,783 doses of vaccine were administered on Friday. A total of 137,856 doses have been administered since Dec. 14.
  • 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.

The good news for the world is Pfizer is expanding its European production line for the COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed with BioNTech. 

Unfortunately that means short-term delays for countries currently on track to receive deliveries of the vaccine. For Quebec, that means 86,775 doses that were slated to arrive in the next three weeks will arrive in March instead.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said the delay is forcing the province to revise its vaccination campaign calendar.

On Thursday, Quebec said it was delaying the delivery of the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for up to 90 days in an effort to protect as many Quebecers as possible with the first dose.

On Saturday, the north-end Montreal regional health authority offered a concrete illustration of what Dubé is talking about.

The CIUSSS du Nord-de-l'Île-de-Montréal issued a public plea for patients to avoid Fleury Hospital's emergency room and to restrict patient visits to the strict minimum "for the next few days in order to ease the pressure on the emergency department and clinical teams."

The facility is dealing with three separate COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Meanwhile, Quebec is advising anyone who has flu-like symptoms to go and get tested, as well as those who have been in contact with someone sick. 

Earlier in the week, Dr. Arruda specified that there is capacity at testing sites and anyone thinking of going should do so.

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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).  

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.

You can find information on COVID-19 in the province here and information on the situation in Montreal here

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