By Gordon Lambie
Having been threatened on Thursday with a move back into red alert status if things in the region don’t improve, the City of Sherbrooke called upon its residents to remember the importance of public health guidelines.
“The Estrie Region is under increased observation,” said Sherbrooke Mayor Steve Lussier in a press release issued on Friday. “Despite the nice weather and the fatigue, I invite the people of Sherbrooke to show good citizenship, to respect the distancing measures, the new requirements concerning the wearing of masks and the other restrictions by Public Health.”
The warning from the city noted a recent increase in large gatherings in public parks and at private residences.
Meanwhile the regional healthcare establishment, the CIUSSS-CHUS, announced that the drop-in vaccination program for people aged 55 and over that drew on the local supply of AstraZeneca vaccines proved so successful that the total number of coupons available was used up earlier than expected. As such, the program has shifted back to being appointment-only, with appointments available by visiting Quebec.ca/vaccinCovid.
The most recent data available on vaccination in the Townships showed that 93,312 out of the estimated 329,000 people in the region have received a first dose of vaccine. Across the province 1,890,476 doses have been administered out of the 2,429,695 doses received in total so far, accounting for 22.1 per cent of the population as a whole.
The province of Quebec reported 1,535 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday which, added to the 1,754 reported on Saturday and the 1,683 from Friday, brought the total number of people infected to 326,383 and the number of active cases to 12,602.
The total number of deaths linked to the virus increased to 10,742 with the addition of 26 over the weekend.
Hospitalizations climbed by 42 since Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 208, and the number of people in Intensive care increased by seven, reaching 139.
The Eastern Townships continued to see increases in new cases over the weekend; 47 on Friday, 44 on Saturday, and 40 on Sunday raised the number of active cases in the region to 301 and the total number of cases reported since the start of the pandemic to 12,385. More than one third of all active cases in the region on Sunday were in Sherbrooke, although the Granit and Coaticook sub-regions both had higher rates of infection in relation to their population.
There were no new deaths in the Townships, but hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 increased to 15, with two in intensive care.
As of Sunday 16,173 cases of COVID-19 variants had been detected across the province, 275 of which were in the Eastern Townships. The average rate with which positive test results showed the presence of a variant over the previous week across the province was 72.7 per cent.