Wearing a mask in public places will remain mandatory in April

Clara Descurnings, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL. Quebecers will still have to wear masks in public places and on public transport for some time to come.

Health Minister Christian Dube said in a press release on Tuesday that “on public health advice, wearing masks in public places will continue after mid-April.”

The press release did not specify an expected date for the lifting of the measure.

For his part, Acting National Director of Public Health Dr. Luc Boileau expects to keep the recommendation “throughout April,” he said Tuesday morning during a press conference in Quebec.

He did not give a date for the rise, saying he is waiting to see how the sixth wave develops. “Forecasts from the National Institute of Health and Human Services Excellence predict that there will be a further increase in cases and hospitalizations in the coming weeks,” he recalled.

“We are not going to recommend to the government to add measures such as shutting down something,” he relented. I think we can appeal to the civic sense and the cooperation of the population.”

Quebec is one of only two jurisdictions in North America (the other being Prince Edward Island) that still has face covering requirements. Asked about this, Dr. Boileau replied that he “is in contact with other public health leaders (…) and there are several people who would like to push these measures again.”

The Ministry of Health on Monday recorded an increase of 72 virus-related hospitalizations from the previous day. This brings the total to 1479. However, only 598 of these patients, or less than half, are diagnosed with COVID-19 at admission.

The number of cases in intensive care remains stable at 69 patients. In 48 of them, or more than two-thirds, the main diagnosis is COVID-19.

4 doses at age 60 and older

Access to the fourth dose, currently offered to people aged 80 and over and vulnerable groups, will be expanded. Those aged 70 and over will be able to make an appointment from Wednesday, and those aged 60 and over from April 11.

“Three-quarters of the people in our hospitals (with COVID-19) are over the age of 60,” Boileau explained.

There are currently no public health plans to recommend extending access to this dose to the entire population, as they were vaccinated later than the priority groups. “The data show that efficacy may decrease within five to six months” after the injection, and that revaccination should only be offered to “people who are over three months old,” a clinical expert in support of scientific guidance said. pandemic Ministry of Health, Jean Longten, during a press conference.

At the same time, “there will definitely be a vaccination campaign in the fall.”

Dr. Boileau also suggested that people who have not yet received their third dose of the vaccine should make an appointment to receive it.

He recalled that this third dose is very effective in preventing serious forms of the disease.

Although the majority of Quebecers aged five and over received their first (91%) and second (87%) injections, the booster dose was not as popular and was accepted by only half (53%) of the eligible population. according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health.

Living with COVID-19

Dr. Boileau emphasized that learning to live with the virus does not mean giving up all precautions.

Noting that “we see that there are people who pay less attention to the situation,” he recalled that “the pandemic is not over.”

He also reiterated that even if the period of isolation at home is five days, “the period when you can be contagious is ten days. (…) In this context, we must remain very vigilant.”

On days six through ten: “If you don’t have a fever, if you don’t have symptoms, you can start doing certain activities again, but now is not the time to go to a restaurant, watch a show, or play sports.” activities with others.

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This article was produced with the financial support of Meta Fellowships and The Canadian Press for News.