'I don't like it': Quebec health minister says of spike in COVID-19 cases

Now that the newly identified Omicron variant has been detected in Ontario and Quebec, should we be considering a new round of safety measures against the virus? Global’s Laura Casella asks Dr. Mitch to weigh in.

Quebec is reporting 1,196 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday and two more deaths attributable to the virus.

While cases soared above the 1,000-mark last week, the last time they were higher was was on April 24 when 1,198 infections were recorded, according to data provided by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec.

During a press conference Wednesday morning, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé expressed his concern.

“I don’t like it,” he said of the spike in cases.

He, however, expressed some hope, explaining that the vaccination of children between the ages of five and 11, which kicked off just last week, was not yet finished and that third dose booster shots for people 70 and over were still ongoing.

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Of the new cases reported on Wednesday, 693 were among people who were not vaccinated or less than two weeks removed from a first dose of vaccine.

Dubé noted some Quebecers are still refusing to get a shot.

“There are 650,000 Quebecers who are refusing to be vaccinated and we are facing a new variant and the start of winter,” he said.

“My premier asked me to concentrate on vaccination and to make sure that when we get to Christmas we’ll have the lowest number of cases possible.”

Since the beginning of the week, Quebec Premier François Legault has stated he hopes for restrictions on private indoor gatherings to be eased in time for the holidays, to allow groups of 20 to 25 people, up from 10.

Opposition parties have chastised Legault over his Christmas wish, accusing him of sending mixed messaging and creating expectations.

Legault, however, did say he would proceed with caution and follow public health recommendations. An announcement is expected next week.

Pandemic-related hospitalizations also saw a jump on Wednesday with 28 new patients admitted and 16 discharged for a total of 239. Of those, 52 are in intensive care.

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The latest data shows that people who are not vaccinated are 15.8 times more likely to be hospitalized than people who are adequately vaccinated.

In the last 24 hours,  23,009 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered bringing the percentage of the population having received at least one shot to 81.

To date, the province has tallied 449,367 infections,  429,339 recoveries bringing the number of active cases to 8,447.

The death toll linked to the virus now stands at 11,581.


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