COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Wednesday
Kids in the province will start receiving their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine today
- Quebec reported 882 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and one new death.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 441,344 confirmed cases and 11,566 people have died.
- There are 211 people in hospital (an increase of eight), including 46 in intensive care (same as yesterday).
- As of Tuesday, the province has administered 13,485,440 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- 91 per cent of the eligible population in the province (age 12 and up) has received one dose of vaccine, and 88 per cent has received two doses.
Note: Quebec's Health Ministry does not publish the number of vaccines administered on weekends and public holidays.
Children across Quebec will be rolling up their sleeves to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine today.
The appointments for children aged five- to 11-years-old begin in vaccination centres. Vaccine appointments can be booked on the Clic-Santé website.
Siblings can be booked together in a single time-slot, and parents can check a box to to signal if their child is nervous about the process.
Vaccination in schools is expected to begin next week, though parents can expect written consent forms in the coming days.
The Quebec government is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19 — but Premier François Legault says he doesn't want to pressure anyone.
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"Vaccination will help us keep our schools open and … children will be able to hug their grandparents safely," Legault said. He said the main reason, though, is to prevent any long-term health problems related to COVID-19 in children.
The shots, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, are meant for kids aged five to 11. Some 650,000 children in Quebec are eligible for the shot.
According to data from Quebec's public health research institute, the INSPQ, about 35,000 children between the ages of five and 11 have caught COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Quebec's immunization committee recommends waiting at least eight weeks between the first and second dose for this age group.
The Health Ministry says that by end of day Tuesday, 115,300 appointments had been booked for children's vaccinations.
Reduce gathering sizes before holidays
The premier also asked Quebecers to follow public health guidelines about indoor gatherings, if they hope to have a normal holiday season.
During his news conference Tuesday afternoon, Legault reminded people that the current limit for an indoor gathering is 10 people.
He said he hopes to be able to loosen those rules for the holiday season, but added that people needed to do their part now and respect current guidelines for that to happen.
Long-term care ombudsman report
Quebec's ombudsman submitted her final report into what went wrong in the province's long-term care homes during the first wave of the pandemic, saying residents were "cast aside" and imploring the government to right its wrongs by making recommended changes immediately.
Marie Rinfret says she is asking Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé to provide her with ongoing progress updates, starting this spring, until all 27 recommendations in her report are implemented.
Most of the 3,890 deaths in Quebec during the first wave were among CHSLD residents, while staff watched helplessly, fled the overwhelming conditions or were themselves sick with the virus.
Officials knew how under-resourced long-term care homes were before the pandemic, Rinfret said, yet failed to act accordingly in the first wave. She also highlighted the fact that the homes were expected to deliver services similar to hospitals, despite lacking the expertise and personnel to do so.
Staff and personal protective equipment were transferred to hospitals, but the type of patient surge they expected never came. At the same time, hundreds of seniors were dying in long-term care facilities.
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What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- 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.
- 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.
With files from The Canadian Press and Radio-Canada