Quebec smashes vaccination record as COVID-19 variants take hold in provincial capital

Quebec is reporting 1,683 new cases and eight more deaths linked to COVID-19 as the province broke its single-day vaccination record Friday.

Hospitalizations related to the new coronavirus rose once again. There are three more patients in hospital for a total of 569.

Of them, there are 134 people being treated in intensive care units, an increase of two from the previous day.

When it comes to vaccination, Quebec has broken a new record. Health authorities reported 69,148 doses were given Thursday.

READ MORE: Quebec extends lockdown in COVID-19 hot spots, brings back 8 p.m. curfew for Montreal, Laval

This includes 16,161 of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people who are 55 and older, the first day the province operated special walk-in clinics offering the vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently only available to those between the ages of 55 and 79, after the government suspended its use in younger people over concerns about rare but serious blood clots.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said more than 235,000 appointments were booked in a single day.

“It is thanks to this mobilization that we will be able to pull through,” he wrote on Twitter.

Over the course of the campaign, 1,754,749 shots have been administered. The majority of doses are the first shot.

The case count has reached 323,094 while the pandemic has claimed the lives of 10,726 Quebecers. The number of recoveries, meanwhile, has topped 300,000.

Quebec City hit hard by variants

Amid a spike in infections, officials in the provincial capital are asking for residents to abide by tightened restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Quebec City reported 449 new cases Friday, marking the second day in a row that the region reported the highest daily number of infections in the province.

Dr. André Dontigny, head of the local public health department, told reporters that 70 per cent of the new cases reported in Quebec City involve the B.1.1.7 variant of the virus, first identified in the U.K.

READ MORE: Quebec City gym linked to more than 400 cases of COVID-19, health authorities say

He said it’s tough to know how the third wave will “evolve in the coming days.”

“We don’t know, but it’s not improbable that cases will continue to rise,” Dontigny said.

The jump in cases has prompted the government to extend lockdown measures — including the closure of schools and non-essential businesses — in Quebec City, neighbouring Lévis and other regions. The emergency rules are in place until at least April 18.

With files from the Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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