Things on track for “some measures” to be relaxed Feb. 8

By Gordon Lambie
Things on track for “some measures” to be relaxed  Feb. 8

In his Tuesday afternoon update alongside Health Minister Christian Dubé and Provincial Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec Premier François Legault said that if things continue on their current track with regard to COVID-19 in the province, then the Government will likely be ready to announce the relaxation of some restrictions in some areas as of next week. The premier stopped short of specifying which measures would be changed, in what ways and in which areas, however, indicating that the changes, if they come, will only be detailed next week for implementation as of Feb. 8.
The Province of Quebec recorded only 1,166 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of people infected to 256,002, with the number of active cases continuing its decline to 15,622. Legault hailed the downward trend as good news and also an argument that current measures, such as the 8 p.m. curfew, are effective and should not be changed. Arruda, meanwhile, made a point of saying that even if measures are relaxed next month, people should not take that as a sign that the situation is resolved. Looking particularly to the issues being cause by the spread of the U.K. variant of the virus, Arruda and Legault both warned of the importance of vigilance and care going forward.
The provincial data also reported 57 new deaths, but the total number of deaths increased by only 56 due to the withdrawal of one death that further investigation showed was not attributable to COVID-19. The number of hospitalizations increased by three compared to the previous day, for a cumulative total of 1,324. Among these, the number of people in intensive care remained stable, for a total of 217.
Speaking of hospitalizations specifically, the premier said that things are starting to get better but argued that no one is out of the woods yet. The situation remains particularly challenging in the Greater Montreal area, which accounts for 1,040 of the 1,324 people in hospital.
Another 5,927 doses of vaccine were administered as of Monday, for a total of 224,879. To date, 238,100 doses have been received.
While Legault voiced concerns about the supply chain issues with regard to vaccination, Dubé made a point of saying that the province is doing what it can with what it has and shared that there are 8,000 doses coming from Pfizer and 40,000 from Moderna next week. He also celebrated the fact that the province had “reached its target” of 225,000 people vaccinated two weeks early, although all of those people have so far only received one of two recommended doses and the 225,000 target was a revision from an original target of 250,000.
On the subject of which regions could expect restrictions to be rolled back sooner rather than later, Dubé kept mum, but he pointed out that statistics about all of the province’s administrative regions is publicized daily and reminded those listening of the three main criteria used to determine a region’s status: the number of daily cases, the number of hospitalizations, and the number of outbreaks. To this he added the fourth dimension of the degree to which regular hospital activities have been delayed or cancelled, saying that all of these factors will be taken into account in decision-making over the coming week.
The Estrie Region followed the provincial trend showing a decline in daily figures, with only 41 new cases recorded on Tuesday.
Four new deaths were added to the regional total, which has now reached 264 since the pandemic began. One of these deaths took place at the St-Jude private seniors’ residence in Granby, with the other three being in the community at large.
Local hospitalizations decreased to 56, nine of whom are considered to have recovered from the virus but remain hospitalized. Intensive care numbers also decreased slightly, for a total of 11 in the two hospitals with dedicated COVID wards.

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