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April 27, 2021 – Canadian and Québec government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the federal and provincial governments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Curfew pushed to 9:30 p.m. in Montréal and Laval

The situation is stable in Montréal and Laval. The positive test rate decreased from 3.8% to 3% last week. Consequently, the government announced that starting May 3, the curfew will return to 9:30 p.m., instead of 8:00 p.m., in these two high-density regions. “However, no region is safe from an explosion of cases, so we must remain vigilant,” said Premier François Legault.

Measures in place in Québec a success

Premier Legault said that he considers the measures put in place over the last few weeks to be working and that the situation is generally improving across the province. “However, we must remain extremely prudent as events evolve,” he said.

Three regions to monitor

The situation in the Outaouais is still the most difficult. A decrease in cases was recorded, but the positive test rate continues to be the highest in the province, at 8.5%, compared with an average of 2.9% for all of Québec. “Our hospital network was already squeezed, but now it’s saturated in the Outaouais. There’s no margin of manoeuvre,” said Mr. Legault. All of the emergency measures in this region have been extended until May 9, at the earliest.

In Chaudière-Appalaches, the positive test rate also remains high, although it did drop from 7.7% to 6.6% over the course of the last week. There is a very high concentration of cases in the Beauce and in Lac-Etchemin.

In the Capitale-Nationale region, the situation has improved significantly, with positive test rates decreasing from 6% to 4.2%.

The government announced the reopening of elementary schools starting May 3 in the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches regions, with the exception of the Beauce and Lac-Etchemin. The other measures remain in place.

 State of the pandemic in Canada

 Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Howard Njoo of the Public Health Agency of Canada shared the most recent data on COVID-19 in Canada. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been close to 1,190,000 cases, including over 24,000 deaths recorded in Canada.

Over the last week, just over 8,000 cases were reported each day. On average, more than 4,300 people with COVID-19 were treated in Canadian hospitals each day, including 1,350 people in intensive care units. This corresponds to an increase of more than 15% compared with the preceding week.

 To date, Canada has recorded over 94,200 cases of the variants of concern. The B117 variant, commonly referred to as the British variant, is responsible for more than 96% of these cases.

 Vaccination update

Since this morning (April 27), people with disabilities or a chronic illness and caregivers can get vaccinated. The premier reiterated that vaccinations will soon be available to all Quebecers and that “this priority group should not delay in making their appointments.” Mr. Legault also announced that, effective immediately, pregnant women have priority status.

This week, Canada will receive close to 2 million vaccine doses, including the first delivery of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Starting next week, Pfizer will send Canada 2 million doses of its vaccine each week.

“Along with the public health measures, the vaccine doses are the key for not only fighting the third wave but the pandemic as a whole,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The prime minister reiterated that he and his wife received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine last Friday. “We feel fine. We feel more protected and we also feel that we are part of the solution in moving forward,” said Justin Trudeau.

Mr. Trudeau thanked nurses, doctors, pharmacists and paramedical workers for their contribution to the vaccination efforts.

A first death in Québec

Dr. Horacio Arruda confirmed a first death in Québec linked to a thrombosis following the AstraZeneca vaccine. “Some 400,000 people have been vaccinated in Québec, and we were very sad to learn of this death,” said Dr. Arruda.

On a more hopeful note, the premier concluded that Québec is on the way to winning the battle against the third wave. “We have three winning conditions: the arrival of warm weather, the vaccination campaign, which is progressing well (as of today, April 27, 33% of the population has been vaccinated) and the approaching end to the school year,” he said.

Shortly, the government will present a plan for reopening the economy so that Quebecers can plan their summer.

Assistance for the provinces

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government is offering Ontario its help to fight the third wave. A first contingent of six nurses and three doctors from Newfoundland and Labrador will be arriving in the province Tuesday afternoon (April 27). The Canadian Army will also be deploying nine critical care physicians and the Red Cross is ready to send 13 more, in addition to 30 supplementary resources.

The prime minister announced that 60 members of the Canadian Armed Forces will lend a helping hand in testing centres in Nova Scotia, which is facing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.

“Across Nova Scotia, and in particular in the Halifax region, the numbers have climbed quickly and the province asked for assistance. So we’ll be sending help there as well,” said Justin Trudeau.

He also explained that his government is ready to help Alberta, which is also experiencing a considerable number of new cases each day.