Quebec political parties showed a united front on Tuesday as the province continues to struggle to get the health crisis under control, recording over 2,000 daily COVID-19 cases for four consecutive days.
“We’re all together to save our health system,” Premier François Legault said at a press conference in Montreal attended by the leaders of the opposition.
On Tuesday, Quebec set a daily record with 2,183 new cases of the illness, bringing the total caseload since the start of the pandemic to 181,276.
Patients requiring hospitalization remains above the 1,000 mark. In the last 24 hours, seven more people were hospitalized for a total of 1,055. Of those, 137 are in intensive care, a decrease of nine since Monday.
Legault said he was most worried about the situation in hospitals, noting more than 7,000 health-care workers were on sick leave.
“We need to help our health workers and to do that we need to follow the rules to avoid increasing the number of COVID patients in our hospitals.”
The premier said the province is already doing what it can to curb the transmission of the coronavirus.
“We’re already closing schools and businesses for the holidays, but we can’t control what’s going on in houses,” he said, adding now is not the time to come up with ways to skirt the public health rules.
All non-essential businesses are set to close for a two-week period, starting Dec. 25 until Jan. 11, 2021 under restrictions announced last Tuesday.
Only people living alone are allowed to join another family bubble to celebrate the holidays.
“I know we would all like to see our friends but we all have to make one last effort,” Legault said.
Quebec continues to lead the country in coronavirus-related deaths with a total of 7,794 fatalities, including 28 reported on Tuesday.
Health authorities say 10 Quebecers died in the last 24 hours, while 14 deaths happened between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, one before Dec. 15 and three at unknown times.
The latest data available shows 26,130 screening tests were carried out on Dec. 20 and 4,612,006 overall.
On Monday, Quebec intensified its vaccination effort with 21 sites across the province ready to receive the vaccine.
On Tuesday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said on Twitter that 18 of those sites had received their doses, with three having started giving shots, including two long-term care facilities in Montreal and one in the Outaouais region.
“The other sites will begin to vaccinate today and tomorrow,” he wrote.
Since Quebec’s vaccination campaign kicked off just over one week ago on Dec. 14, 5,273 doses have been administered, including 437 on Monday.
Legault reminded Quebecers of the need to remain careful and continue to observe public health guidelines, warning the next few weeks remain critical.
“Yes, there’s a vaccine, but the number of vaccines is limited,” he said.
The premier said the province was expecting an additional 50,000 doses this week and another 29,000 in two weeks.
“That’s all that we’ve got confirmed for the moment, so 84,000 doses we’re talking about vaccinating 42,000 people,” Legault said. “As you can see, it’s very limited.”
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