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COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Tuesday

Premier François Legault to hold news conference this afternoon

Le premier ministre François Legault en conférence de presse.

Le premier ministre François Legault juge que l'heure n'est pas encore venue de relâcher les mesures sanitaires mises de l'avant dans les derniers mois pour faire face à la cinquième vague de COVID-19 qui balaye le Québec.

Photo: La Presse canadienne / Graham Hughes

RCI

Quebec Premier François Legault will hold a COVID-19 news conference this afternoon, where he is expected to announce a slight easing of some restrictions.

  • On Monday, Quebec reported 3,278 people in hospital (a decrease of 21 from the previous day), including 263 in intensive care (the same as the previous day).
  • The province reported 2,977 new cases of COVID-19 and 85 deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 841,414 confirmed cases and 12,936 people have died.
  • The province also reported Tuesday a total of 17,251,891 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 82,197 in the last 24 hours.
  • 90 per cent of the eligible population in the province (ages five and up) have received one dose of the vaccine, 83 per cent have received two doses, and 41 per cent have received three doses.

The new cases are those reported to the Quebec government only. They are believed to be an underrepresentation of the virus's spread, given the limited availability of PCR tests and use of home testing kits.

The premier will be accompanied by Health Minister Christian Dubé and the province's interim public health director, Dr. Luc Boileau.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven-day moving average for Quebec.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven-day moving average for Quebec.

Photo: INSPQ/CBC

According to sources speaking to Radio-Canada, the government is expected to announce that restaurant dining rooms could reopen next week, but at 50 per cent capacity with a maximum of two households per table.

Sources also say to also expect an announcement regarding sports, but the details are not yet known.

You can watch the conference live with English translation on this page at 2 p.m.

No classes have been closed since return: ministry

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said at a news conference Monday that he hasn't heard of any schools or classrooms in Quebec that have been closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks since students returned to in-person learning last week.

Roberge said the ministry reached out to a number of school boards last week and there were no closures reported.

One hundred per cent of our classes and our schools were open, Roberge said.

It's possible that there are some exceptions at the margins, but the portrait that I have had of the past week so far is that the network is open as we wished,  Roberge said.

With the return to class the province introduced new guidelines for managing outbreaks in schools. 

Parents are no longer automatically informed in the event of positive COVID cases in their child's school or class, and classes are only shut down if a minimum of 60 per cent of students are in isolation at any given time.

Roberge said students were expected to be in class, despite fears from some parents about a lack of transparency. 

Vaccine passports now required at large retailers

As of Monday, larger retail stores in Quebec have required a vaccination passport for entry.

In a bid to persuade COVID-19 vaccine holdouts to get the jab, Quebec has expanded the vaccine mandate to include all businesses with surface areas of 1,500 square metres or more — with the exception of groceries and pharmacies. 

The province's Health Ministry released a ministerial decree detailing the parameters of the new directive Sunday night. 

For pharmacies located in big-box stores, such as Walmart or Costco, an unvaccinated person must be accompanied at all times during his or her travels by an employee of the business, the pharmacy or any other person mandated by them for this purpose, the decree reads. This person may not purchase products other than those related to the pharmaceutical service they are receiving.

Gas stations affiliated with big-box stores and vehicle service stations are also exempt from the vaccination requirement. 

More pop up vaccination clinics coming

On Monday, Lionel Carmant, Quebec's junior health minister, announced the province will make an extra push to convince unvaccinated Quebecers to get a shot.

He says there about 540,000 eligible Quebecers who have not had any vaccine.

Carmant says while some people are philosophically opposed to the vaccine, others would be willing to get their shots if the process was explained to them and access was easier. Pop-up vaccine clinics will begin next week and the province hopes to make inroads by the end of March.

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