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

As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to trend upwards, the province is set to unveil a plan to encourage nurses to return to the public sector and help curb staffing shortages. The government is also set to table a bill to restrict anti-vaccine protests.

Five anti-vaccine protests have taken place outside Montreal schools in last month

Here, nurses are seen working at a COVID-19 testing centre in Longueuil Que., in September of 2020. The province is looking at ways at encouraging nurses who left the public sector to return to help curb staffing shortages. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)
  • Quebec reported 754 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and seven new deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 405,728 confirmed cases and 11,347 people have died.
  • There are 283 people in hospital (an increase of three), including 90 in intensive care (a decrease of one).
  • 16,588 vaccine doses administered were reported for a total of 12,799,063 doses administered in Quebec.
  • 88 per cent of the eligible population in the province (age 12 and up) has received one dose of vaccine, and 83 per cent has received two doses.

Note: Quebec's Health Ministry does not publish the number of vaccine doses administered over the weekend. 


The Quebec government unveiled its plan to help curb staffing shortages in health care today, offering bonuses to full-time nurses and nurses willing to make the jump to full-time work, as well as to nurses who would come back to the public system. 

Bonuses of $15,000 will go to full-time nurses and part-time nurses in the public system who are willing to work full-time, and nurses who have quit will get $12,000 if they come back, Premier François Legault announced Thursday afternoon. 

Nurses in regions where the situation is particularly dire would get $3,000 more.

He said the plan would cost close to $1 billion, but that the government had to offer financial incentives as thousands of exhausted workers fled the system during the pandemic. 

Health Minister Christian Dubé said only 60 per cent of nurses in the public system work full-time, adding he hopes the incentives will convince an extra 15 per cent to work full time and attract about 4,300 nurses back into the system.

Legault also announced that the government will hire 3,000 administrative workers to assist nurses with any bureaucratic duties, allowing them to focus on caring for patients. He said nurses estimate they spend up to 30 per cent of their time filling out paperwork. 

The administrative staff will be trained over the coming months and are expected to be ready by the spring. 

WATCH | Nurses explain why it's difficult to stay in public system

In and out of the system: Quebec nurses struggling to keep up with demands

3 months ago
3:57
Two nurses, one just entering the field, and the other who left due to harsh conditions, weigh in on why the public system is losing employees so rapidly. 3:57

Government preps law for protests at schools, hospitals

The Quebec government is also expected to table a bill later today that will aim to prevent protesters from gathering near places such as schools, daycares, hospitals and vaccination clinics.

In the last month, five anti-vaccine protests have taken place outside primary and secondary schools in Montreal. Others have been held outside hospitals. 

Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault is expected to table the bill. Premier François Legault is hoping it will be adopted quickly.

This morning, the premier took to social media to express why he feels the law is necessary.

"I understand that it's delicate to restrict the right to protest, but frankly, there are limits," the premier wrote on Facebook. "We have to spare our children, patients, and workers in the health network that take care of our own during a pandemics that affects all of them."

Schools close due to COVID-19

Students at three elementary schools, including two in Montreal, were sent home this week due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

The latest is the Saint-Émile elementary school, located in Montreal's Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie borough.

Montreal public health sent a letter to parents with children at the school, saying there has been a rapid increase in the number of positive cases there. The school will be closed until Sept. 27 inclusively.

Sainte-Odile school, which is in the city's Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough, also closed this week after several COVID-19 cases were detected among students. Students are expected back in class next Monday. 

A school in Sherbrooke Que., called École primaire du Coeur-Immaculé, was reopened on Wednesday after being closed for two days. However, students from eight classrooms remain isolated at home for now.  

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

 

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