By Gordon Lambie
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced on Thursday afternoon that the province will shortly be opening up its vaccination campaign to two new categories of people; those with chronic illnesses who do not require regular hospital visits, and those with intellectual or physical disabilities, including people with autism spectrum disorder.
“I know that people are anxious for the general population to be vaccinated,” Dubé said, adding that he believes that the province’s prioritization schedule has been effective so far and calling on the population to remain patient with the process.
“We’re not talking about months; we’re talking about a few weeks now.”
Dubé said that those in the chronic illness category will be given access on the basis of good faith, and he listed conditions like respiratory conditions, diabetes, and obesity as qualifying factors.
“You know who you are,” he said.
With regard to those with intellectual or physical disabilities, he pointed out that the category also involves caregivers.
Between the two categories, he said that the announcement accounts for about 800,000 people across the province.
Premier Francois Legault, meanwhile, called on the federal government to impose more travel restrictions, particularly regarding flights from India and Brazil.
The Province of Quebec reported 1,248 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of people infected to 341,645, with 12,221 active cases. Seven new deaths saw that total rise to 10,845, but the overall number of hospitalizations went down by five to reach 711. As of Thursday morning, there were 174 people in intensive care across Quebec, a decrease of four compared to the day before.
The Eastern Townships saw its highest single day increase in cases in recent weeks on Thursday, with 65 being reported. This brought the total number of people infected by the virus since the start of the pandemic in the region to 12,884, with 432 currently active. There were no new deaths locally, and 19 hospitalizations with three additional people in intensive case.
A total of 2,589,682 doses of vaccine have been administered in Quebec so far, accounting for 29.1 per cent of the population as a whole. 37,400 people have received a second dose, accounting for 0.4 per cent of the population.
In the Eastern Townships 140,506 people have received one dose (28.6 of the regional population), 1,485 of whom have received a second as well (0.3 per cent of the region population).