In Quebec, holiday gatherings are on the line as the second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic bears down and some hospitals begin to reach capacity in the hard-hit province.
A final decision about Christmastime will be made Dec. 11, with Premier François Legault citing a high number of cases and a rise in hospitalizations linked to COVID-19.
“Currently, we’re not heading in the right direction,” he told reporters Tuesday in Quebec City, adding that he wants to be as transparent as possible about the health crisis.
The change comes as Quebec had already revised its Christmas plan and what is allowed over the holidays. The province had given the green light to two gatherings during a four-day period from Dec. 24 to 27 so long as people voluntarily quarantined the week before and after.
On Tuesday, there are more than 700 people in hospital — a high during the second wave of the crisis. Data from Quebec’s national public health institute show the last time hospitalizations were that high due to the virus was June 15.
“We will follow the situation closely over the next 10 days in the hospitals,” Legault said, adding the province is approaching the number of patients it can treat.
Legault said that he is thinking of health-care workers on the front lines, who have been working tirelessly in the past nine months to stem the tide.
“If hospitalizations continue to increase, it will be difficult to take that risk,” Legault said.
The premier admitted he is also worried about the situation in private seniors residences.
There are currently 120 private seniors residences with at least one active case of COVID-19, according to public health authorities. Of those, there are 20 facilities where more than 25 per cent of residents have active cases.
Quebec reported 1,177 new infections and 28 additional deaths associated with the virus Tuesday. The caseload has reached 143,548 while the death toll stands at 7,084.
— With files from the Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.