COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Thursday
Unvaccinated health-care workers will have to get tested regularly
- Quebec reported 644 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and two new deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 417,832 confirmed cases and 11,431 people have died.
- There are 298 people in hospital (same as yesterday), including 76 in intensive care (an increase of one).
- The province has administered 13,055,771 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 11,774 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.
The province's health care unions are applauding Health Minister Christian Dubé's decision to push back the deadline for a vaccine mandate.
After weeks of insisting on the vaccination requirement, Dubé postponed the deadline for health-care workers to get vaccinated by one month, saying he fears the health-care system will suffer if all 14,000 unvaccinated workers are suddenly suspended without pay.
"We're giving ourselves another 30 days to show the culture is going to change, and we're going to be able to bring back more people," he said.
On Radio-Canada's Tout un Matin, he said he hopes no longer forcing employees to work mandatory overtime and improving the work conditions throughout the health network will coax more nurses out of retirement, bring more employees into full time positions and recruit new hires to counter the labour shortage.
Health-care workers in the public system will also have to be tested three times a week starting on Monday.
If they still refuse to be vaccinated by Nov. 15, he says, they will be suspended.
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, and of them, 7,428 have only received one dose.
The Health Ministry revealed today that its incentives have enticed 1,756 nurses to come back to full-time work in the public system. Some had retired or left to work for private agencies but most were already working in the public system on a part-time basis.
Rapid tests expansion in Montreal schools
The Health Ministry said it will be expanding the use of rapid tests in schools next week 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 whose parents have given permission will be tested.
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.
Top COVID-19 stories
- Quebec postpones vaccination mandate for health-care workers to Nov. 15
- These Quebec nurses are willing to sacrifice their careers to avoid getting COVID-19 shots
- ICU staff battle patients' regret, denial and mistrust during Quebec's 4th wave
- More than 17,000 Quebec health-care workers face suspension for refusing COVID-19 vaccine.
- Quebec passes law to make protesting outside schools, hospitals and vaccinations sites illegal
- Groups say Quebec's bonus pay for nurses won't solve staffing crisis.
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 Alison Northcott, Radio-Canada and the Canadian Press