- Quebec reported 2,386 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and four new deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 471,742 confirmed cases and 11,622 people have died.
- There are 309 people in hospital (an increase of 16), including 73 in intensive care (an decrease of two).
- The province has administered 14,081,687 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 46,793 in the last 24 hours.
- 88 per cent of the eligible population in the province (age 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.
Montreal’s public health director is asking the population to reduce its number of contacts in light of the Omicron variant.
The city recorded 844 new COVID-19 cases today, and Dr. Mylène Drouin says she expects the daily number to increase in the coming weeks.
Currently, most cases are still of the Delta variant. But there are now 95 cases of the Omicron variant in the city, and 90 per cent of them involve people who were fully vaccinated.
“With two doses, you can still easily catch the variant,” Drouin said.
The median age of people infected with Omicron is 32, and 80 per cent of them showed symptoms, although illness does appear to be less severe than with other variants.
Public health had previously said 14 cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant had been detected in the city — and only five of them were associated with travel outside the country.
Provincewide, there were 2,386 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the last 24 hours.
It’s the highest number since January, when Quebec was in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic.
Premier François Legault says he hasn’t ruled out changing gathering restrictions for the holidays.
“With 2,300 cases today, it wouldn’t be responsible to not look at all the possibilities, and we have to keep measures that will have an impact on [decreasing] hospitalizations,” he said.
“I’m very aware that Quebecers and, as I was telling my colleagues yesterday, Canadians are very fed up with the measures.”
He said he also asked Ottawa for federal government employees to help administer vaccinations in the province.
“Right now, we need all our employees to vaccinate,” he said. “We called them all back, but there aren’t as many as we used to have for vaccinations, and that’s really our priority now: the third dose and vaccinating five- to 11-year-olds.”
“We don’t know in a week or two where we’ll be, and we’re trying with our experts and the experts of the federal government to see how we can estimate the number of hospitalizations in the next week.”
Travel restrictions coming
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is asking Canadians with plans to travel abroad to cancel their trips as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spreads worldwide.
Later today, the federal government will change its travel guidance to officially advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country for the time being.
“To those who were planning to travel, I say very clearly — now is not the time to travel. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant on a global scale makes us fear the worst,” Duclos said.
Quebec urges caution, work from home
The Quebec government is asking employers in the province to once again prioritize work from home, as cases and hospitalizations are on the rise and Quebec faces the threat of the Omicron variant.
Health Minister Christian Dubé also said the province would be rolling out rapid tests in pharmacies as of Monday, giving people access to five free tests every 30 days.
Benoît Morin, president of an association that represents pharmacists who are owners, said that almost all pharmacies will be providing tests, but some may not have them on Monday morning.
“We’re going to do our best. But over the course of the week, they should come in,” he said.
He said pharmacies should have a sign near the entrance saying whether or not the tests are available.
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.