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March 29, 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.

Controlling the third wave

The minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, believes that the current challenge, in the context of the third wave, is to control its impact on the number of hospitalizations and cases in intensive care units by increasing vaccinations and compliance with health measures.

Mr. Dubé reiterated that experts have known for several weeks that the new variants, which are more transmissible and more pathogenic, will surpass the original strain of COVID-19 and there will be an increase in cases.

“We’re closely monitoring the situation in hospitals rather than the increase in cases,” said Mr. Dubé.

The government’s strategy is focused on controlling and limiting the third wave as long as possible. Achieving this requires aggressive screening, isolation of those who have the virus, strict compliance with health measures and a significant increase in vaccination rates.

Minister Dubé said that Québec is breaking vaccination records with more than 50,000 vaccinations administered yesterday and the day before yesterday.

Safeguarding mental health

Minister Dubé defended the government’s strategy of allowing grade 9, 10 and 11 students in red zones to return to the classroom, arguing that it is a question of mental health and following the health measures.

For the health measures to be followed, he explained, there must be popular support for them. Otherwise, the results will not be there. And for the measures to be followed, the question of mental health must also be considered, given the fatigue that is settling in among the population with regard to the social restrictions that have been in place for over a year. “To guarantee that the population follows the measures, we need to give a little,” said Mr. Dubé.

Despite this, Minister Dubé stated that the government, depending on the impact of the third wave on the healthcare network, could reverse its decision and reintroduce alternating school days for these students, even though the government would like to avoid this. “It’s still too early to say at this point,” said Minister Dubé.

Not yet out of the woods

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is leaving it up to the health experts to determine if the country is presently facing a third wave of contagion, but stated that “we’re not out of the woods yet and we must continue to be vigilant and cautious,” in order to protect ourselves and others.

“We’ve known for a long time that the new variants are a threat. That’s why vaccinations can protect us against a third wave,” said Mr. Trudeau.