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November 29, 2021 – Provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

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

Omicron variant: One confirmed case in Québec

Christian Dubé, Minister of Health and Social Services, and Horacio Arruda, National Director of Public Health, confirm that a first case of the Omicron variant has been detected in Québec.

In addition, 115 travellers from countries affected by the variant, mainly in South Africa, must be retested and quarantined.

“A first case of the new variant was confirmed in Québec this morning. We adjusted our screening assays to detect these new variants. The cases will then be studied by sequencing,” Christian Dubé said.

Québec government experts will also analyze two important variables: vaccine escape and variant virulence. The first is to see how the new variant resists the vaccine and the second is to accurately determine if this variant is more virulent and contagious.

“It is not yet confirmed that the variant can pass through vaccines, so before making very important decisions regarding vaccination, we must understand what is the vaccine escape,” Christian Dubé explained.

Health measures during the Holidays

During the week of December 6, the government will announce the health measures that will be in effect during the Holidays. Until then, the Minister of Health and Social Services is reiterating the importance of following health measures and getting tested at the appearance of the slightest symptom.

Third dose

Just over one-third of people aged 70 and older have not yet received their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s moving very slowly. Go get your third dose! We wouldn’t want the outbreaks in residences to start again,” Christian Dubé insisted.

The government is awaiting an opinion from the Comité d’immunisation du Québec (CIQ) regarding the vaccination of healthcare workers, who may soon have access to a third dose.

Vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years

Among children, already 32% of 5- to 11-year-olds have received or will soon receive a first dose of the vaccine, “This is good news,” Mr. Dubé said. That’s just over 200,000 children, a figure that is expected to rise rapidly thanks to vaccination in schools, which began on Monday.