Holidays gatherings on the line as coronavirus hospitalizations soar in Quebec

The Quebec government will make a final decision regarding holiday gatherings on Dec. 11 as the second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic progresses in the hard-hit province.

Premier François Legault made the announcement Tuesday, 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 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.

Read more: Coronavirus hospitalizations jump as Quebec adds 1,117 new cases, 28 more deaths

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.

“If hospitalizations continue to increase, it will be difficult to take that risk,” Legault said,

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.

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Coronavirus: 11% of Canadians still going ahead with their holiday plans: Ipsos poll

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