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

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé tabled a bill in the National Assembly Wednesday morning which, once adopted, will lift the pandemic state of emergency while still allowing the government to retain some powers.

Quebec tables bill to lift pandemic state of emergency

Some part-time nurses are considering leaving the public system or quitting nursing altogether because of their new collective agreement, which will soon force them to double their workload. (CBC/Radio-Canada)
  • On Wednesday, Quebec reported 1,073 people in hospital (a decrease of nine from the previous day), including 56 in intensive care (a decrease of 10 from the previous day).
  • The province reported 1,380 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 939,650 confirmed cases, and 14,213 people have died.
  • The province also reported Wednesday a total of 18,537,394 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 4,462 doses in the last 24 hours. 
  • 91 per cent of the eligible population in the province (aged five and up) have received one dose of the vaccine; 87 per cent have received two doses, and 52 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's Health Ministry announced it will no longer report its COVID-19 numbers on the weekend.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé tabled a bill in the National Assembly Wednesday morning which, once adopted, will lift the pandemic state of emergency while still allowing the government to retain some powers, notably to manage the health-care system, through to the end of 2022.

The bill comes as the government has already relaxed most pandemic restrictions and has announced its intention to drop mask requirements in public places by mid-April, and on public transit in May.

The state of emergency, declared on March 13, 2020 under the Public Health Act, gave the government the ability to take any "measure necessary to protect the health of the population" without having to follow standard procedures.

For the past two years, the decree has given the Quebec government special powers to manage the COVID-19 crisis, including issuing contracts without a call for tenders, limiting travel, decreeing the working conditions of health employees and other measures deemed necessary to protect the population. 

Doubled workload for part-time nurses

Quebec signed a new contract with its nurses last fall, which was designed to reduce forced overtime and address staff shortages.

But some part-time nurses say they're victims of the new contract, which will soon force them to double their workload.

The measure has some nurses CBC spoke with considering leaving the public system or quitting nursing altogether.

Concerns about 6th wave

Most Quebecers are comfortable seeing public health measures eased, a new poll shows, but experts are concerned an upward trend in COVID-19 cases in Europe could signify a sixth wave is on its way here.

Canadian cases have tended to follow the pattern of the pandemic in Europe, which is now seeing an increase in the contagious Omicron subvariant, known as BA.2. Cases are starting to spike in the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany.

This past weekend, Quebec halted the use of vaccine passports, and the province aims to lift mask mandates in public spaces by mid-April.

Côte Saint-Luc mask policy

The city of Côte Saint-Luc in west-end Montreal wants to keep the mask mandate in place for some municipal buildings, even after the province removes the requirement.

Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein says he'd like the city to adopt a policy to keep the mask requirement for municipal buildings, including libraries and community centres. He says officials will discuss the issue over the next few weeks.

WATCH | 'We're doing better' but 'it's still not over' says Montreal microbiologist:

Where Quebec stands now, two years into the COVID-19 pandemic

4 months ago
Duration 4:40
Dr. Cécile Tremblay, infectious diseases specialist at the CHUM hospital says while the COVID-19 situation in the province has improved, the province needs better access to testing and anti-viral medication, to help prepare for future waves.

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

 

With files from CBC's Daybreak

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