Quebec’s interim Public Health Director, Dr. Luc Boileau, announced on Wednesday afternoon that he will no longer be providing weekly check-ins on the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec in light of what is considered to be a, “very encouraging” downward curve. Although Boileau left the door open to future press conferences of the type that have taken place at times daily over the last two years, he said that the department will schedule them as needed rather than on a weekly basis as they have been recently.
In the lead-up to Saturday’s removal of the requirement to wear masks in most public spaces, Boileau used the last regular conference to remind the population of the locations where masks will still be required as of Saturday. These include medical clinics and hospitals, long term care facilities, and on public transit.
“These are places where there will be vulnerable people who might come into contact with those who have Covid, and these people need to be protected,” the public health director said, once again urging people to respect the decisions of those who opt to continue wearing masks in public after May 14.
Boileau also used the opportunity to provide more information about the vaccination campaigns currently underway by addressing questions about who should be getting what doses at this point in time. He said that the first Covid booster, also referred to as the third dose, is still recommended for everyone over 18 who has not already received one. This is particularly the case for people who are pregnant, as well as healthcare workers. The third dose is also being recommended for 12-17 year olds considered to be at higher risk or who are living in communal environments like group homes or dormitories.
Those outside of these recommended categories can still get the shot as desired, provided that they wait at least three months after their most recent vaccination or bout of Covid.
As of Wednesday 54 per cent of eligible Quebecers had received a third dose, with coverage ranging from 87 per cent among those 60 and older to 15 per cent among those 12 to 17.
With regard to the second booster, or fourth dose, Boileau said that the additional shot is being recommended primarily for targeted groups such as people who live or work in long term care, seniors’ homes, or other environments with a high number of seniors. It is also recommended for those over the age of 80 who are living in the community at large, those people who live in isolated communities, and for anyone with a compromised immune system.
The public health director said that there is limited benefit to getting a fourth dose at this time if you are not a part of one of those specific groups, but again pointed out that the opportunity exists for anyone 18 and up who wants to, provided, again, that they wait at least three months before doing so. There were 1,847 people in hospitals across Quebec with COVID-19 on Wednesday, a decrease of 54 compared to Tuesday’s update. The number of people in the province’s intensive care units also went down, dropping by four to 62. There were 23 new Covid-related deaths recorded, for a total of 15,201 since the start of the pandemic. There were 6,511 health care workers absent for COVID-related reasons as of Wednesday’s update. In the Eastern Townships the number of people in hospital with the virus decreased to 134 with four in intensive care. The region reported no new Covid-related deaths.