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

Premier François Legault has announced a slight easing of restrictions in the province. Quebec has now surpassed 13,000 deaths from COVID-19. Here's what you need to know.

The province is easing some restrictions, despite high daily deaths

Quebec has announced an easing of restrictions, including allowing indoor dining in restaurants as of Monday, despite daily deaths remaining in the double-digits. (Johanne Eisele/AFP)
  • On Wednesday, Quebec reported 3,270 people in hospital (a decrease of eight from the previous day), including 252 in intensive care (a decrease of 11 the previous day).
  • The province reported 4,150 new cases of COVID-19 and 73 deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 845,564 confirmed cases and 13,009 people have died.
  • The province also reported Wednesday a total of 17,537,540 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 80,131 in the last 24 hours.
  • 90 per cent of the eligible population in the province (ages five and up) have received one dose of the vaccine, 83 per cent have received two doses, and 41 per cent have received three doses.

The new cases are those reported to the Quebec government only. They are believed to be an underrepresentation of the virus's spread, given the limited availability of PCR tests and use of home testing kits.

Quebec Premier François Legault announced a slight easing of some restrictions Tuesday, even as daily deaths remain in the double-digits, the highest in Canada.

Restaurants will once again be allowed to reopen at half capacity as of Monday, Jan. 31. Up to four people from four different addresses, or a maximum of two family bubbles, will be allowed to share a table.

The same numbers will apply to indoor private gatherings, which will be allowed as of next Monday. Youth sports in schools will also be allowed to resume with some restrictions.

But for the past month, as COVID-19 cases have soared across the country, Quebec has the most deaths per capita related to COVID-19 anywhere in Canada.

The government has argued that's because it counts deaths using a different methodology that detects more of the people who died than other provinces.

"Eventually we have to accept that we'll continue to have a certain number of deaths and we'll have to accept that we'll continue to have a certain number of people in our hospitals," said Legault.

WATCH | Quebec premier says province must learn to live with COVID: 

Legault describes Quebec living with COVID-19 long-term

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Living with COVID-19 long-term means accepting hospitalizations and deaths, says Quebec Premier François Legault.

Quebecers can now self-report rapid test results

Quebec's online portal where people can report the results of rapid tests from COVID-19 done at home is now online.

Health minister Christian Dubé announced the creation of the portal earlier this month when access to PCR tests was limited to more high-risk populations.  That has led to a massive underrepresentation of the actual number of Quebecers who've tested positive for Covid in the province's daily case counts.

The province is asking anyone who's had a rapid test to report the results, whether they're negative or positive.

The goal is to give the province a better portrait of the actual number of COVID cases, and to allow health officials to track how many people are actually using rapid tests.

The province says the results will be for statistical use only and will not affect people's vaccination status.

No classes have been closed since return: ministry

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said at a news conference Monday that he hasn't heard of any schools or classrooms in Quebec that have been closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks since students returned to in-person learning last week.

Roberge said the ministry reached out to a number of school boards last week and there were no closures reported.

"One hundred per cent of our classes and our schools were open," Roberge said.

"It's possible that there are some exceptions at the margins, but the portrait that I have had of the past week so far is that the network is open as we wished,"  Roberge said.

With the return to class the province introduced new guidelines for managing outbreaks in schools. 

Parents are no longer automatically informed in the event of positive COVID cases in their child's school or class, and classes are only shut down if a minimum of 60 per cent of students are in isolation at any given time.

Roberge said students were expected to be in class, despite fears from some parents about a lack of transparency. 

More pop up vaccination clinics coming

On Monday, Lionel Carmant, Quebec's junior health minister, announced the province will make an extra push to convince unvaccinated Quebecers to get a shot.

He says there about 540,000 eligible Quebecers who have not had any vaccine.

Carmant says while some people are philosophically opposed to the vaccine, others would be willing to get their shots if the process was explained to them and access was easier. Pop-up vaccine clinics will begin next week and the province hopes to make inroads by the end of March.

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 quebec.ca/covidvaccine. 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

 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story indicated that the education minister said no schools or classrooms had been closed to COVID-19 outbreaks. In fact, the minister was referring only to schools or classrooms among those his ministry had surveyed.
    Jan 24, 2022 5:23 PM ET

With files from La Presse Canadienne and Radio-Canada

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