By Gordon Lambie
This coming Friday marks the day when healthcare workers who are not fully vaccinated will be suspended without pay across the province. Despite concerns expressed about the loss of as many as 15,000 workers in an already stressed healthcare system, Health Minister Christian Dubé has not moved on the decision to suspend the unvaccinated, holding firm to the position that it is “never too late” for people to get their shots.
On Monday Dubé praised a decision taken by the OIIQ, Quebec’s order of nurses, to suspend the licenses of members who are not adequately vaccinated starting on the 15. The Health Minister said that it sends a clear signal that there is no getting around the cut-off date.
As of the most recent information available the total number of people who have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic is 416,267. The Province reported 643 new cases on Friday followed by 602 on Saturday, 612 on Sunday, and 480 on Monday.
The total number of deaths due to the virus increased to 11,420, but the total number of hospitalizations decreased to 290 with 78 in intensive care after having climbed up above 300 over the weekend. According to Santé Quebec, an unvaccinated person is 7.5 times more likely to contract Covid-19 based on data from the last 28 days, and 26 times more likely to end up in hospital.
Friday was the last update from the regional public health authority in the Eastern Townships. At that point there were 251 active cases in the region, with 85 cases having been reported since the previous Tuesday. Of that total, 73 were in Sherbrooke, 61 were in the Haute Yamaska, 50 were in the Des Sources cluster, 21 were in Granit, 15 were in Memphremagog, 12 were in each of the Val Saint-François and the Pommeraie areas, four were in the Coaticook region, and three were in the Haut-Saint-François.
The total number of deaths due to Covid in the region increased to 365 with the addition of two more from the Résidence St-Charles in Granby.
There were 11 people in hospital in the region because of the virus on Friday, four of whom were in intensive care.
Due to an increased demand for testing in the region, the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS will be shifting testing in the Bromont and Granby areas to a by-appointment-only system as of Wednesday, October 13. Those looking to make an appointment can do so by telephone at 1 855-244-1548 (Bromont) or 450 305-0731 (Granby) or online at cv19quebec.ca. The Sherbrooke testing centre will continue to offer drop-in testing, but people in that area are encouraged to make an appointment nonetheless to avoid having to wait on-site, the same 855 number listed above should work for Sherbrooke.
Provincial vaccination rates have now reached 90 per cent of the eligible population for a first dose (6,726,789 people) and around 85 per cent for second doses (6,392,223 people).
In the Eastern Townships those rates are now at 85.9 per cent for a first dose (388,523 people) and 83 per cent for a second dose (375,256 people).
91.8 per cent of healthcare workers in the townships are fully vaccinated, and 95.6 per cent have received at least one dose.