- Quebec reported 5,043 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and eight new deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 495,337 confirmed cases and 11,650 people have died.
- There are 415 people in hospital (an increase of 18), including 88 in intensive care (an increase of six).
- The province has administered 14,435,353 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 73,188 in the last 24 hours.
- 89 per cent of the eligible population in the province (ages five and up) has received one dose of vaccine, and 81 per cent has received two doses.
Quebec’s Health Ministry does not publish the number of vaccines administered on weekends and public holidays.
The Omicron variant is now the dominant coronavirus strain circulating in Quebec, according to the province’s public health institute, the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ).
Omicron now accounts for about 80 per cent of cases in the province, the INSPQ said in a news release this afternoon.
The institute says the first case of Omicron in Quebec was detected Nov. 29. By Dec. 14, it made up about 28 per cent of cases. Since then, the INSPQ has been working with health institutions in various regions to determine the extent of the spread.
“Laboratory results show a very rapid progression of the Omicron variant with a prediction of about 80 per cent,” the INSPQ said, “and this just three weeks after the first case was confirmed in Quebec. This means that eight out of every 10 [COVID-19] cases can be attributed to Omicron.”
Montreal declares state of emergency
Montreal has once again declared a local state of emergency in an effort to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Mayor Valérie Plante, who recently announced she tested positive for COVID-19, made the announcement at a virtual news conference Tuesday morning.
Cases are rising sharply across the province, with Quebec reporting yet another new daily record of 5,043 cases.
Montreal alone reported 1,455 cases Monday.
This marks Montreal’s second state of emergency during the pandemic. The city had previously declared one at the start of the pandemic, but allowed it to expire in August, citing high vaccination rates and the implementation of the vaccine passport system.
More measures coming, help requested
Quebec Premier François Legault is indicating that more measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 may be announced Wednesday, two days after the sudden closure of schools, bars, gyms and theaters earlier this week.
Legault tweeted that Quebec is facing some difficult choices, and that the government would come out tomorrow with an update on its decision.
Quebec’s Health Ministry has also requested help from the Red Cross, according to Radio-Canada.
The hope is that the organization will be able to send specialized teams to work in infection-control in institutions struggling with COVID. The specialized teams were called in to help in the spring of 2020, when the first wave of COVID was overwhelming many of Quebec’s long-term care homes.
The province has also asked the Canadian Forces to assist with the campaign to vaccinate Quebecers.
Testing centers hitting capacity
COVID-19 testing clinics across the province are hitting capacity, leading to long waits for tests and results.
Montreal’s Hotel-Dieu site had hundreds of people waiting in line this morning. Laval public health says it’s been taking roughly 3,000 tests per day since cases spiked. Quebec City’s Dalhousie drop-in testing center in the Old Port hit capacity at 7:20 am Tuesday.
Health authorities are asking Quebecers to fill out the COVID-19 symptom self assessment form online and only head to a testing center if showing symptoms.
People who are traveling or heading to holiday gatherings are asked to avoid public testing clinics and either go to a private laboratory or pick up a rapid testing kit.
Some testing centers offer the option of booking an appointment ahead of time but wait times are currently anywhere between one and five days.
Day 2 of rapid test distribution at pharmacies
Many Quebecers are still trying to pick up free rapid test kits or make online appointments as pharmacies continue distribution of tests for the second straight day.
Quebec’s Health Ministry tweeted Tuesday that more than 750,000 rapid testing kits have arrived and will be distributed in pharmacies starting tomorrow.
Pharmacies ran out of supplies quickly on Monday, and many are handing them out on a first-come-first-serve basis instead of by appointment.
Public health officials recommend using a rapid testing kit when symptomatic and getting a PCR test if it comes out positive.
Nez Rouge wraps up early
Nez Rouge has prematurely ended its holiday drive-home service, citing the rapid spread of COVID-19 and heightened public health measures announced by the government Monday.
The service says that even though its practices were deemed safe by public health officials, it decided to wrap things up 10 days early. The service started in late November to handle holiday parties and was due to end after New Year’s.
Top COVID-19 stories
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.
You can find information on COVID-19 in the province here and information on the situation in Montreal here.