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

Quebec postpones vaccination mandate for health-care workers to Nov. 15. Senior U.S. officials announced a plan to reopen the land borders with Canada. Here's what you need to know.

Health-care workers will have 30 more days to get adequately vaccinated

On Wednesday, Quebec announced health-care workers will have until Nov. 15 to get the necessary shots and avoid being suspended without pay. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
  • Quebec reported 512 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and seven new deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 417,188 confirmed cases and 11,429 people have died.
  • There are 298 people in hospital (an increase of seven), including 75 in intensive care (an increase of three).
  • The province has administered 13,043,540 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 9,336 in the last 24 hours.
  • 90 per cent of the eligible population in the province (age 12 and up) has received one dose of vaccine, and 85 per cent has received two doses.

Note: Quebec's Health Ministry does not publish the number of vaccines administered on weekends and public holidays. 


Health Minister Christian Dubé is postponing the deadline for health-care workers to get vaccinated by one month.

Unvaccinated workers will now have until Nov. 15 to be fully vaccinated, or face suspension.

The order representing Quebec's licensed practical nurses (LPNs), the province's order of nurses, the order of respiratory therapists and the college of physicians had committed to sanctioning members who aren't fully vaccinated by the province's original deadline of Friday.

Among Quebec health-care workers, 93 per cent are fully vaccinated and 96 per cent have received one dose. That leaves 21,900 who are not adequately vaccinated, including 7,428 who have only received one dose. 

U.S. land borders to reopen 

Fully vaccinated Canadians will be allowed to enter the United States at land and ferry border crossings starting in early November. 

Senior administration officials said Tuesday night that an exact date for reopening the border has not been determined. 

Land borders with Canada and Mexico have been closed for non-essential travel since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

The updated rules mean Canadian and U.S. citizens will soon face essentially the same rules when crossing the border after months of disproportionate measures at the world's longest international border.

In August, the Canadian government reopened its land border to fully vaccinated U.S. travellers, which raised repeated questions about why the U.S. did not make the same change.

Rapid tests in schools this week

Starting this week, all preschools and elementary schools in Quebec will have rapid testing for COVID-19.

Rapid tests are already being used in some Montreal and Laval schools where there were many active cases.

Pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Caroline Quach says pilot projects for rapid tests last spring were effective in detecting cases and bringing children back to school soon after isolation.

"I think one has to remember that this test is 80 percent sensitive, which means that out of 10 cases that we would pick up by PCR, we'd be missing two. And that's a sensitivity in symptomatic children,"  she said. 

As of last week, nearly a quarter of public and private schools were reporting active positive COVID cases, accounting for about 770 schools and over 1,800 students and staff.

Today, the Health Ministry said it will be expanding the use of rapid tests in schools in three Montreal neighbourhoods: Montréal-Nord, Parc-Extension and Saint-Michel.

As soon as one child in a class tests positive for COVID-19, all other children will be tested by Saint-John's Ambulance personnel, even if they show no symptoms. Only those who parents have given permission will be tested.

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 Alison Northcott, Radio-Canada and the Canadian Press

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