By Gordon Lambie
One day after announcing that people born in 1946 or earlier were now able to book vaccination appointments in the Estrie Region, that group was expanded again to include those born as recently as 1951. Although the quick change proved slightly confusing for those accustomed to the slower pace of vaccination that has been the case to date in the region and the province, the Estrie Region’s vaccination campaign coordinator, Jean Delisle, said that people can expect an increasing pace between now and the end of June.
“It will continue to progress and that is good news,” Delisle said, explaining that appointments are being added to the online clicsante.ca platform as soon as doses are available. On that note, however, he acknowledged that it is possible for appointment slots to open up on days that were previously marked as “full” on the online tool, leading to a phenomenon where someone who signs up later could get an earlier appointment. Although he said that the campaign organizers will not be shuffling people’s appointment times for them if earlier spots open up, there is nothing to stop them from re-registering for a new time and cancelling the later appointment.
Asked about confusion that has arisen over access for caregivers, Delisle said that he is still in the process of sorting out a solution. The campaign coordinator said that although the provincial government released information stating that qualifying caregivers can accompany a person who is eligible for a vaccine and get the shot themselves at the same time, the local campaign was prepared for a system that worked completely on a reservation basis and does not have spare doses that have not been accounted for to hand out. While he acknowledged that the difference in information available and reality is a problem, he had no solutions available as of Wednesday afternoon.
Provincial and regional statistics showed an increase on Wednesday. Quebec recorded another 792 new cases, bringing the total number of people infected to 294,652 and the number of active cases to 6,964. There were 10 new deaths, for a total of 10,503 since the start of the pandemic, and five new hospitalizations for a current total of 581. There were also two more people admitted to intensive care, for a total of 112.
Another 18,101 doses of vaccine were added to the running total of 599,833, and 852,065 doses of vaccine have been received by the province so far.
The number of cases of COVID-19 variants confirmed in the province climbed by 80 (one of which was in the Estrie Region) for a total of 335, with another 1,570 presumptive cases. The increase of one case in the Estrie (for a total of five so far) was of a case that had been previously attributed to the Capitale Nationale region by mistake.
In the Eastern Townships another 33 cases of COVID-19 were added, bringing the total to 11,743, with 194 active cases. Nearly half of the new cases are linked to an outbreak at the Manoir Jeffrey in Val des Sources (formerly known as Asbestos), where 14 new cases (13 residents and 1 employee) were added to the total of 35 residents and 4 employees infected so far. Two new deaths, one at the Manoir Jeffrey and another in the community, brought the total number of local deaths to 310. Two new hospitalizations at the Fleurimont Hospital alongside a decrease of two at Sherbrooke’s Hotel-Dieu kept the total number of hospitalizations stable at 23, although the number of people in intensive care decreased by one, to a single patient.