Speaking at a press conference in Montreal on Thursday morning, Quebec Premier François Legault announced that the government will indeed be going ahead with a vaccine passport of some kind for nonessential services.
“We have a responsibility to act,” Legault said, explaining that with the recent increase in cases across the province and an expectation that those case counts will continue to rise in the coming weeks, the implementation of a passport system is the only way to ensure that people who “made an effort to be vaccinated,” will be able to experience a “quasi-normal” life.
The government had previously said that a vaccine passport system would only be put in place in September if the spread of the virus warranted such a decision.
The premier did not offer details on what services will be covered by the passport or who it will work, stating that Health Minister Christian Dubé will clarify the new system in the coming days.
Legault also spoke critically of those who have not yet been vaccinated who do not have a medical explanation.
“You are putting yourself at risk, and you are putting all of society at risk,” he said, arguing that vaccines are safe, effective, and available. He pointed out the fact that the majority of the 60 people hospitalized in the province at the moment are unvaccinated.
The news came alongside a daily report of 305 five new cases, a jump of more than 100 in a single day from Wednesday. Of that total, 72 from the Montreal area were under investigation and may be corrected at a later date. For the moment, however, the new cases boosted the number of active cases in the province to 1472 active cases.
Although the number of deaths remained unchanged, there were two new hospitalizations. The number of people in intensive care, however, dropped by one, to 16.
In the Eastern Townships the number of active cases increased to 42, with the rise once again coming from the Sherbrooke area.
While the number of hospitalizations due to the virus remained low, at three, the strain the pandemic has put on the healthcare system continued to show in the region’s emergency departments. As of 4 p.m. on Thursday the Fleurimont and Hotel Dieu ERs in Sherbrooke, That of the Magog hospital, and the granby ER were all over capacity, while that of the BMP in Cowansville was full. Anyone seeking emergency care is encouraged to check capacities before going at https://www.santeestrie.qc.ca/en/care-services/general-services/emergency/situation/ to evaluate the status of their nearest medical centre.