Mask requirement likely to lift by May 14

By Gordon Lambie
Mask requirement likely to lift by May 14

Luc Boileau, Quebec’s Interim Public Health Director, said on Thursday afternoon that the province will very likely withdraw the requirement to wear masks in public as of May 14. Although the final decision will not be made until early next week, Boileau said that based on the decline in the level of contagion being observed at the moment he thinks it very likely that the measure will be withdrawn on that date.

“The peak (of the sixth wave) is likely behind us,” the public health director said, pointing to the projections released on Wednesday that indicate a gradual decline in the number of cases and hospitalizations over the next two weeks.

Boileau said that at this point the BA2 variant is the dominant strain in the province, which is part of the reason for the rapid rise of this wave of contagion. He also said that there has been a rise in reinfection, with five to ten per cent of current cases people who have re-caught a strain of the virus with which they were previously infected. As a result of this, the period of time after an infection during which a person is considered to have greater protection from the virus was revised from three months down to two.

There were 2,326 people in hospital with COVID-19 as of Thursday’s update from the provincial health ministry, a decrease of 46 compared to the previous day. 951 of those people were so-called ‘primary cases’, or people in hospital specifically because of their Covid symptoms, representing 42 per cent of the total.

There were 85 people in intensive care with the virus across the province, a decrease of seven compared to the previous day. 54 of these, or 64 per cent, were primary cases.

9,377 health care workers absent for COVID-related reasons.

The province reported 23 new Covid-related deaths, for a total of 14,951 since the start of the pandemic.
In the Eastern Townships, the number of people in hospital with the virus increased to 165 with six in intensive care. There were three new covid-related deaths recorded, bringing the regional total to 585.

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