One day after the announcement that mask requirements will be loosened for elementary and high school students in the province upon the return from their March breaks, Quebec’s work workplace health and safety standards board, the CNESST, announced changes to mask use in the workplace as of Feb. 28.
The change, timed to coincide with the end of the work-from-home requirement next Monday, will allow people to remove masks while seated or at a workstation, provided that they are at least two metres from others or are behind a protective screen. The rule change also removes any requirement for dividers in lunchroom settings so long as people wear masks while not eating.
Speaking at an update on the situation in Quebec Wednesday afternoon, interim provincial public health director Dr. Luc Boileau said that the changes that have come this week are the result of more positive change than anticipated.
“The evolution of the fifth wave is moving in the right direction,” Boileau said.
The public health director also shared that ongoing analysis has shown the omicron wave spread even wider in the province than previously believed. Whereas Boileau had previously said that close to 2 million Quebecers, or about a quarter of the population of the province, had gotten the virus since December, he said on Wednesday that the number now appears closer to three million, or roughly a third of all Quebecers.
There were 1,672 people in hospital with COVID-19 across Quebec on Wednesday, a decrease of 70 compared to Tuesday. Of that total, 102 were in intensive care, a decrease of five.
The total number of people in hospital with Covid in the Eastern Townships remained unchanged at 88, although the number of people in intensive acre dropped back down to four.
The province recorded 17 new Covid-related deaths on Wednesday, for a total of 13,903 since the start of the pandemic. There were two new deaths recorded in the Eastern Townships, for an overall total of 536.