Essential worker vaccination opened up province-wide

Essential worker vaccination opened up province-wide

By Gordon Lambie

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced on Tuesday that vaccination for a pre-established set of essential workers, including all school staff, and people with chronic illnesses will be available throughout Quebec as of April 14, and that everyone in these two categories who wish to be vaccinated should be able to do so by the end of the month of May.
The information came as a footnote in the provincial government’s afternoon update, which Premier Francois Legault kept primarily focused on concerns about increases in hospitalizations in the coming weeks.
“We are looking at two big months of uncertainty,” Legault said, numbering 73 days between now and when he expects the situation to be able to relax due to sufficient vaccine coverage.
Looking at the present situation, the premier said that there are currently double the number of people under 55 hospitalized as there were in the first wave of the virus, with the situation being particularly worrying in the Capitale Nationale, Outaouais, and Chaudiere Appalaches regions, and under increased surveillance in Montreal and Laval.
Although Legault made mention of a slight increase in cases in the ring of regions around Montreal, including the Monteregie and the Laurentians, he did not follow up on his threat last week to return the Estrie region to red alert status. Emergency measures were extended by another week in the three main areas of concern, and the Cote Nord region was upgraded from yellow to orange alert status.
“Across Quebec the situation remains fragile,” Legault said, explaining that although there had originally been a belief that the situation could normalize once people over 60 were vaccinated, the growing severity of variant cases in younger age groups has thrown that assumption out the window.
The premier also reiterated the fact that it is now required that everyone wear masks outdoors unless alone or engaged in an activity with only people who live in the same household. He later added that it is permitted to remove those masks if seated at a distance of two meters or greater from people outside of your ‘family bubble,’ so long as the different families do not form a group of more than eight people.
The province of Quebec reported 1,490 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday bringing the total number of people infected to 329,472 and the number of active cases to 13,253.
The addition of 12 new deaths brought that total to 10,756 deaths and an increase of 13 hospitalizations brought the provincial level to 643. Eight more people were admitted to intensive care, for a total of 150.
After dipping into the 20s on Monday, the new case count in the Eastern Townships jumped back up to 47 on Tuesday, 23 of which came from Sherbrooke. This increased the number of people who have been infected by the virus in the area to 12,458, and the number of active cases to 336.
There were no new deaths, and the number of people who were hospitalized decreased by one, to 14. The number of people in intensive care remained stable at two.
The CIUSSSE-CHUS has issued a targeted call for people who visited the Boutique Joséphine on Wellington Street North between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on April 5 to go get tested, as an individual with a confirmed case of the virus was present in the business at that time.

Quebec has now surpassed two million vaccinations, with Tuesday’s numbers showing that 2,005,106 shots have been given out of 2,633,275 doses received in total. The Eastern Townships also passed a vaccination milestone, with 102,948 doses given to 21 per cent of the local population.
As of Tuesday, 17,444 variant cases had been detected across the province, 314 of which have been in in the Eastern Townships.

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