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May 11, 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.

Situation improving in Québec

Québec Premier François Legault announced that the situation is improving in Québec and the province is moving in the right direction. The number of cases and hospitalizations are down and the positive test rate for the virus has decreased from 2.8% to 2.6%. He said that Québec is getting through the third wave.

“Summer’s coming and things are looking better than they did last summer. When we look at new hospitalizations, there are half as many as there were on the same date last year. When we look at deaths, there are 10 times fewer than on the same date last year. Also, we have the vaccination campaign, which is going really well,” said François Legault.

Over the next few weeks, the premier hopes to be able to unveil a complete reopening plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Measures relaxed in certain regions

The premier announced a relaxing of a few health measures. As of May 17, in Outaouais and in the region of Rimouski, the curfew will move to 9:30 p.m., high school students will return to the classroom and non-essential businesses will reopen.

High school students will also be able to return to the classroom in Beauce-Etchemin and the RCM of Granit in Estrie, but the 8 p.m. curfew remains and non-essential businesses are staying shut. The emergency measures have also been maintained in Bas-Saint-Laurent (Kamouraska, Témiscouata, Rivière-du-Loup and Basques).

François Legault said that the Montérégie, Laurentides and Lanaudière regions might be able to transition to orange soon if the situation continues to improve.

Vaccinations in Québec

To date, 3.9 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Québec and 43.1% of Quebecers have received their first dose. Meanwhile, 2.2% of the population has received a second dose. An average of about 76,000 doses is administered each day.

Minister of Health and Social Services Christian Dubé said that the youth week for vaccinations has kicked off incredibly well. Some 50% of Quebecers between the ages of 30 and 34 across Québec have made an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccination, which has been available to them since Monday.

This week, the vaccination rate for adults aged 50 and over should surpass 75%.

“I want to call on all young Quebecers. Getting vaccinated goes hand in hand with freedom, with solidarity and, above all, with a great summer. So, please, go get vaccinated,” said François Legault.

In terms of shortening the timeframe between the two doses of the vaccine, a decision has not yet been made. It will depend on the vaccination of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, which is slated for the end of June, before classes are out. The Québec government is awaiting an opinion from the Comité sur l’immunisation du Québec (CIQ) on the vaccination of this age group, which represents about 516,000 people.

State of the pandemic in Canada

Over the last week, more than 7,275 cases were reported daily and the number of serious and critical cases remains high.

On average, 4,000 people with COVID-19 were treated in hospitals each day, including more than 1,400 in intensive care units.

National Nurses Week

During National Nurses Week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took the opportunity to highlight the importance and expertise of the nurses in our health care systems. “It’s also an opportunity to thank them again for their work. It’s because of the efforts and devotion of nurses across this country that we’ve been able to get through this difficult year,” said Mr. Trudeau.

Vaccinations in Canada

The prime minister announced that close to 50% of Canadian adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Canada is among the top three countries in the G20 in terms of its vaccination rates.

By summer, Canada will have enough vaccines to vaccinate the entire eligible population with a first dose. By September, there will be enough doses for every Canadian to be completely vaccinated.

To date, Canada has delivered close to 20 million vaccine doses to the provinces and territories. Next week, and every week in May, Canada will receive 2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Justin Trudeau pointed to how well the vaccination campaign is going in Québec. “I’d like to thank everyone who’s been part of this incredible effort to keep Quebecers safe. If it’s your turn to get vaccinated, you can do you part and make an appointment,” said Justin Trudeau.

Summer 2021

Justin Trudeau said that to have an enjoyable summer, two conditions must be met. First, the number of cases must decrease significantly across the entire country and the restrictions must remain in place until cases decrease. Secondly, 75% of Canadians must have received at least one dose of vaccine.

“We all want to spend a summer with loved ones and invite friends to barbecues. We can have a better summer, a summer with one dose. In the fall, when enough Canadians have rolled up their sleeves for a second dose, it should be possible to talk about a return to school, a return to work and a return to something closer to normal,” said Mr. Trudeau.