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

More than three-quarters of the rapid tests reported to the Quebec government using a new online tool have come back positive, the health ministry said Friday. Here's what you need to know.

Quebec reports first results from self-reporting rapid test site

Montreal health authorities are hoping to treat more elderly COVID-19 patients at home, in order to free up more hospital beds. (Radio-Canada)
  • On Thursday, Quebec reported 3,091 people in hospital (a decrease of 62 from the previous day), including 228 in intensive care (a decrease of seven from the previous day).
  • The province reported 3,600 new cases of COVID-19 and 48 deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 853,120 confirmed cases and 13,113 people have died.
  • The province also reported Friday a total of 17,501,591 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 75,704 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 43 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.

More than 75 per cent of the rapid tests reported to the Quebec government using a new online tool have come back positive, the health ministry said Friday.

The Quebec government launched the rapid test reporting platform Tuesday. Out of the 33,144 tests reported so far, 25,082 of them were positive. On Thursday alone, 1,771 tests were reported, with 1,052 of them being positive.

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.

The Quebec Health Ministry also announced that more than 400,000 children aged 5-11 have now received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Hospitals opting for at-home COVID care

While hospitalizations in the province appear to be on the decline, some Montreal hospitals are switching to at-home care as a means to free up more hospital beds.

Health authorities in the city are trying to discharge elderly patients as soon as possible, in favour of offering them medical care from the comfort of their homes. That would include doctor visits to assess their blood pressure, medicine levels, and ensuring that they're comfortable.

Dr. Bao Chau Phan, a family doctor working at Verdun Hospital, said most patients are eager to get home as soon as they can.

Officials say there are about 600 COVID-19 patients across the province who could be treated at home, freeing up hospital beds for those in need of more urgent care.

"It's a solution to act fast and to be able to get some capacity to admit the patients from the emergency, and patients that actually need the active care from our team and the doctors," explained Daria Lebidoff, a coordinator with the Verdun and Notre-Dame hospitals.

Restaurants reopening Monday, youth sports returning

Restaurants in Quebec will once again be allowed to reopen at half capacity starting Monday. 

Up to four people from four different addresses or a maximum of two family bubbles will be allowed to share a table. However, restaurants will have to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and will have to close at midnight.

The same numbers will apply to indoor private gatherings, which will be permitted after being banned since New Year's Eve.

Extracurricular sports will also return in elementary schools, high schools, CEGEPs and universities on Monday. Participants over the age of 13 will have to show their vaccine passport.

Organized sports outside of school will be allowed only for those under the age of 18. A maximum of 25 participants will be allowed. While practices will be permitted, competitive matches are still on hold.

Quebec shifting towards 'endemic' view of COVID-19: public health 

Quebec can't declare victory over the Omicron wave just yet, but the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital appears to be on the decline, the province's interim director of public health said Thursday.

The province is still planning to gradually lift public health measures, but how fast that happens depends on whether Quebecers reduce contacts and move quickly to get fully vaccinated, said Dr. Luc Boileau at his first news conference without a member of the Legault government by his side on Thursday.

The daily death count has remained in the double digits in recent days, and now, nearly 23 months into the pandemic, more than 13,000 Quebecers have died of COVID-19.

Boileau said Quebec is moving toward treating COVID-19 as endemic — a disease, like the flu, that regularly circulates throughout the population.

WATCH |  Dr. Boileau says 3rd dose vaccination rate is lower than hoped: 

Dr. Luc Boileau says Quebec's 3rd dose rate slower than hoped

5 months ago
Duration 1:21
Dr. Luc Boileau held his first news conference without a member of the Legault government at his side Thursday. He explained why he thinks the third dose rollout is not going as fast as he'd like.

Don't fall for phishing scam, Health Ministry warns

The provincial Health Ministry is warning Quebecers it is not offering a financial incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Many people are reporting receiving text messages saying they've won a prize for being fully vaccinated.

The ministry says it is a phishing scam, and it has taken steps to have the website the message links to shut down.

It's reminding people never to provide personal information to requests received via phone, text, or email.

This phishing scam is popping up on cellphones across the province. Quebec Health Ministry is reminding people never to provide personal information to requests received by phone, text or email. (Loreen Pindera/CBC)

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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