By Gordon Lambie
Quebec’s vaccine passport system is on track to start Sept.1 as planned, according to Health Minister Christian Dubé. Following the pilot projects that have taken place in different parts of the province over the last week, Dubé said that the mobile applications that the system is based upon will be made available for download in the coming days, and that the businesses where the passports will be required will be expected to start scanning for them as of the beginning of next month.
Dubé also repeated the fact that a wallet-sized card version of a person’s QR code proof of vaccination will be available to those who request it in order to allow anyone without a smartphone to still make use of the system. The Health Minister did not offer further clarification of how one is expected to request the card, however.
Following the introduction of the new system, a fifteen-day grace period will apply before any kind of penalty is applied for businesses not enforcing the system properly.
“We want to avoid closing businesses and cancelling activities,” Dubé said, reiterating the fact that the point of the passport system is to allow people who have sought the added protection of the vaccine the benefit of their choices, rather than continuing to shut things down systematically in the face of rising Covid numbers.
Dubé also said that a comprehensive list of the businesses where the passport will apply would be made available as of Tuesday afternoon on Quebec.ca, although as of this writing the list was not yet available.
Speaking to the COVID-19 situation in general, Dubé referred to the month of September as “the month of all the difficulties,” pointing out that the combination of the return to school for students and the return to work for many employees who have been at home, alongside the increased pressure of the delta variant creates a lot of uncertainty about the fall.
“We don’t know exactly how things are going to go, given the variant,” he said.
The Province of Quebec reported 345 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of people infected to 385,465. Taking into account the 370,486 people who have recovered, however, the number of active cases decreased slightly to 3,696.
There were three new Covid-related deaths added to the provincial total, bringing that number to 11,283.
The number of hospitalizations increased by three, to 102, but the number of people in intensive care decreased by two, to 29.
The Eastern Townships saw the number of active cases decline again, following an initial decline on Monday. Although there were 76 new cases recorded across the region between Friday and Tuesday, the total number of active cases decreased to 187. The number of hospitalizations remained unchanged, with two in intensive care and six overall, but the region reported two new deaths, one at the Château le Bel âge in Windsor and the other at the Résidence du Haut-St François in East Angus.
Vaccination coverage in the Eastern Townships has reached 82.9 per cent of people 12 and up for at least one dose, and 75 per cent for two doses.
Across the province, 86.3 per cent of the eligible population have had at least one dose and 78.5 per cent are adequately vaccinated.