By Gordon Lambie
According to Health Minister Christian Dubé, 11,519 people who had not previously taken an appointment for a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine did so on Thursday following the announcement that the province will be implementing a vaccine passport. Details on that new system are set to be announced early this week.
The winners of Quebec’s first COVID-19 lottery draw were selected on Friday, but the results of that draw will not be known until this coming Tuesday at 10 a.m. The draws will now take place weekly, with one winner of $150,000 selected among adults and another for a $10,000 scholarship for young people aged 12-17.
The 72 cases in the Montreal area that had been under investigation in last Thursday’s report were ultimately determined to not be valid, dropping that day’s provincial total from 305 to 233. With the 218 new cases reported on Friday, however, the number of active cases in Quebec increased to 1,558. One new death linked to Covid was recorded on Friday, bringing the total in the province since the start of the pandemic to 11.241. but the number of hospitalizations and people in intensive care both went down, to 57 and 15, respectively.
In the Eastern Townships Friday’s report from the local public health department included 41 active cases, one in the Pommeraie health network, six in the Haute-Yamaska, five in Memphrémagog, one in Coaticook, 25 in Sherbrooke, two in Granit, and one case whose home territory was yet to be confirmed. The number of deaths linked to the virus in the region remained unchanged at 352 since the start of the pandemic, and the number of hospitalizations also remained unchanged at three, with no one in intensive care.
A warning about overcrowding in the Emergency departments in the Eastern Townships on Thursday was followed by an announcement from the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS on Friday that the Val-des-Sources hospital has been closed for the rest of the month due to a staffing shortage. The hospital’s ER will remain accessible, but anyone requiring hospitalization will be transferred to Sherbrooke. The announcement offers no specific date for a reopening.
As of Friday, the local COVID-19 vaccination campaign reached the point where 81.2 per cent of those eligible to be vaccinated have received at least one dose, with 66.3 per cent having received a second. The Haute-Yamaska is now the local health network with the highest first-dose coverage, at 82.1 per cent, while the Des Sources region sits at the bottom, with 73.3. 18-29 year olds in the Des Sources region remain the least vaccinated age group of any in the Townships, at 51.2 per cent.
When it comes to second doses, the Memphrémagog area has the highest coverage, with 70.1 per cent of the eligible population, while the Haut-Saint-François sits on the other end of the spectrum at 59.7 per cent.
Across the province, 84.4 per cent of the eligible population has received at least one dose, and 70.3 per cent of those 12 and up are considered adequately vaccinated.