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January 11, 2022 – Provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

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

Health contribution

François Legault, Premier of Québec, Christian Dubé, Minister of Health and Social Services, and Dr. Luc Boileau, interim National Director of Public Health in Québec, provided an update on the COVID-19 situation in Québec.

The Government of Québec is working on implementing a “health contribution.” All adults who refuse to be vaccinated with at least one dose, without a valid reason, will be obliged to pay a certain amount of money. Although this amount will be significant, it has not yet been determined.

“Unfortunately, there is a small minority, about 10%, who refuse to be vaccinated,” Mr. Legault said. “I understand people’s anger towards this small minority who are overburdening the hospitals. […] It’s not all Quebecers who should pay for this.”

Labour shortage

The Government of Québec expects to need 1,000 more employees in hospitals, as well as an additional 1,500 in long-term-care centres (CHSLDs).

Discussions are continuing with the unions and the Treasury Board to find various solutions. New measures should be announced in the coming hours.

Epidemiological situation

Québec reported 8,710 new cases and 62 new deaths in the last 24 hours.

It should be noted that the number of cases is not representative of the real situation, since access to screening centres is restricted to priority clients.

There was an increase of 188 hospitalizations, for a total of 2,742, including 255 patients in intensive care.

Half the hospitalizations for COVID-19 are incidental cases, i.e., people who were admitted to hospital for some other reason but tested positive for COVID.

Dr. Arruda resigns

Dr. Horacio Arruda has stepped down as National Director of Public Health in Québec.

The Premier thanked him for his 22 months of hard work and dedication, noting that Dr. Arruda will return to the public health team after a few weeks’ rest.

Other measures

Regarding the curfew, Mr. Legault reiterated that it will be the first measure to be abolished as soon as possible.

The Premier also announced that he will hold a weekly meeting on COVID-19 with Opposition leaders to answer their questions and hear their suggestions.

Regarding the scheduled return to school on January 17, this issue is still under review and will be discussed with Dr. Boileau, the new interim National Director of Public Health.