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

With the drop in infection rates come signs the Legault government may relax some restrictions in the days ahead. And astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who is also a medical doctor, began a training stint this week in the McGill University Health Centre's COVID unit.

Radio-Canada reporting Quebec may ease some restrictions on businesses as cases drop

A lonely scene, devoid of travellers, at Montreal's Pierre Trudeau International Airport on Friday. The Quebec government has welcomed new federal restrictions on international travel. (François Sauvé/Radio-Canada)
  • Quebec reported 1,223 new cases on Sunday and 31 more deaths. 
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 262,583 confirmed cases and 9,794 people have died.
  • There are 1,136 people in hospital (a decrease of 27), including 191 in intensive care (a decrease of 10).
  • 84 doses of vaccine were administered Friday. A total of 238,227 doses have been administered since Dec. 14, accounting for 2.79 per cent of the population.
  • Did you lose a loved one to COVID-19 in the past year? Send us a note if you'd like to share their story

Data reported by Quebec on Sunday shows the number of people in hospital for COVID-19 dropped for a fifth straight day, and intensive care bed occupancy declined for the fourth day in a row.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said on Twitter the downward trend in hospitalizations will allow the province to resume some of the surgeries that had been delayed because of the December surge in infections.

Premier François Legault is due to give an update on the government's pandemic response on Tuesday. In a Facebook post Saturday, he indicated he may relax some restrictions in the days ahead, while maintaining others.

Radio-Canada is reporting the government is studying the possibility of allowing some non-essential businesses to reopen in the second week of February, with specific sanitary measures in place.

Legault and other top officials have attributed the recent decrease in cases to the curfew that's been in place since Jan. 9.

According to Radio-Canada, the government is studying the possibility of extending the curfew past Feb. 8, the date it was supposed to end.

Spacesuit to scrubs

Quebec astronaut David Saint-Jacques is returning to his roots, donning scrubs to help with the pandemic at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).

Saint-Jacques, who is also a medical doctor, began a training stint this week in the hospital's COVID units.

He said a key thing to remember is that COVID-19 doesn't just affect the elderly or patients with serious pre-existing conditions.

"That struck me the first time I admitted someone into my care, a man my age, who was not particularly sick before," he said. "For him, COVID was a disaster."

The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and experts say it's important to remember that there is a lot right now that is beyond our control. 

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

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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