Legault counting on vaccine coverage as Quebec reports more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases

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A sign for a COVID-19 testing center in Montreal on October 10.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Premier François Legault tried to reassure Quebecers on Friday as health officials reported more than 1,000 new daily cases for the first time since May, with hospitalizations remaining stable due to the province’s strong vaccination coverage.

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Health officials on Friday reported 1,037 new COVID-19 cases, but no new deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. After 13 patients entered the hospital and 17 were discharged, the hospitalizations related to COVID-19 fell by four to 206 as compared to the first day. The number of people in intensive care dropped from two to 43.

Legault told reporters in Montreal: “Yes, we have (more than 1,000) cases, but we have 200 hospitalizations, which is four or five compared to many countries in Europe and the United States.” times less.”

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“Our hospitalizations, thanks to vaccination, are relatively short-lived, but continuing to vaccinate will be important,” he said, referring to children aged five to 11.

In early November, officials said they expected cases to rise as measures were eased, but hospitalizations were not expected to increase dramatically.

Legault said his biggest concern came from the news of a World Health Organization panel worrying about a new novel coronavirus disease called “Omicron”. The variant originated in South Africa and has led to a rapid increase in cases in the southern part of the African continent.

Amid calls for Legault and other premiers to close borders to South African travellers, the federal government on Friday announced a travel ban on foreign nationals who had traveled to or from seven southern African countries in the past two weeks. had passed through. There are no direct flights to Canada from this area.

“We are closely monitoring the situation with our experts (in the health department),” Health Minister Christian Dubey tweeted on Friday. “It shows us that the pandemic is not over.”

Legault said on Friday he was unwilling to make any promises about his government’s future health orders around Christmas celebrations. He said officials would wait for a week or two to consider before proposing the plan. While the province has eased some measures in recent weeks, at-home gatherings remain limited to 10 people from three households.

“I hope with all my heart that we will be able to have a Christmas that is a little more ordinary,” he said.

Quebec has 7,324 active cases of COVID-19. Officials said 19,266 doses of the vaccine were given on Thursday. The province’s Institute of Public Health said more than 88 percent of the population aged 12 and older had been adequately vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of Friday morning, 172,600 vaccination appointments had been made for Quebec children aged five to 11, who were eligible to receive their first dose as of Wednesday. So far 15,599 youth have received the first dose.

In Granby, Ky., about 80 kilometers east of Montreal, local police were investigating whether the windows of seven elementary schools in the area were painted anti-vaccine graffiti. cast. Mark Farrand said police believe the same person may be behind the messages, which he said were written in identical handwriting and included “Why vaccinate them?” such as messages.

“The schools cleaned up the messages and photographs were taken for our investigation,” Farand said.

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