Quebec reports nine COVID-19 deaths, slight increase in hospitalizations
MONTREAL – Quebec health officials reported nine more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Monday and a slight increase in the number of hospitalizations due to the disease.
Health authorities say 1,077 people remain in hospital with COVID-19, a rise of three cases from the previous day based on 43 admissions and 40 patients discharged.
There are 61 people listed in intensive care, a drop of two patients.
According to the Health Department, hospitalizations in the province peaked during the most recent wave on Jan. 18, when there were 3,425 people in hospital, including 285 in intensive care.
On Saturday, Quebec lifted most remaining COVID-19-related measures, including capacity limits and use of the vaccine passport, although masks are still required in indoor public spaces.
Quebec has said masks will no longer be needed in most settings by mid-April at the latest, with the rule for public transportation expected to remain until May.
On Monday, Quebec added 670 new COVID-19 cases based on PCR testing limited to certain groups, with 9.7 per cent of tests administered coming back positive.
The Health Department said 4,200 doses of vaccine were administered on Sunday, including more than 2,400 booster doses.
Among Quebecers aged five and older, 91 per cent have received one dose of vaccine, 87 per cent have had two doses and 52 per cent have received a booster dose — numbers that have barely changed since March 5.
A spokeswoman for the Health Department says there could be several explanations for the slow rate of third doses, including that an estimated three million Quebecers contracted COVID during the Omicron wave and have to wait between eight weeks and three months after recovering to get a booster shot.
Marie-Louise Harvey says health officials also believe better weather and a slowing of transmission has led some people to put off a third dose until colder temperatures return.
“In all cases, the ministry reiterates the importance of having good protection against COVID-19 in order to avoid developing severe or permanent forms of COVID-19,” she wrote in an email.
An estimated 513,000 Quebecers aged 18 and older remain unvaccinated, with just over 25,000 people having received a first dose since Jan. 24.
The province did not update its COVID-19 dashboard over the weekend, but between Friday and Sunday hospitalizations dropped by 52 and ICU cases by two, with 19 new deaths reported.
Quebec has reported 14,182 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic was declared in the province in March 2020.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2022.