News

COVID live updates: Roberge ‘pretty confident’ Quebec schools will reopen Jan. 17


Trudeau says Ottawa will distribute 140 million rapid tests to province in January. Most Quebec pharmacies won’t have them in stock until Tuesday, Jan. 11, pharmacists say.

Article content

Updated throughout the day on Wednesday, Jan. 5. Questions/comments: ariga@postmedia.com

Advertisement

Article content


Top updates

  • Roberge ‘pretty confident’ Quebec schools will reopen Jan. 17
  • Opinion: Why was the social fabric and so many people’s mental health this fragile?
  • The Year Ahead: ‘We’re bent but not broken’ — restaurateur hopes for brighter 2022
  • Quebec labour minister asks employers to observe new rules on PCR tests
  • Feds to distribute 140 million rapid tests to provinces in January
  • Don’t come looking for rapid tests yet, pharmacists plead
  • Hospitalizations jump by 158 as Quebec reports 39 deaths – most in 11 months
  • Roberge, Arruda to provide update on distance learning in schools
  • Quebec explains new isolation rules, eligibility criteria for PCR tests
  • Trudeau and Tam to hold first federal update of the new year at 11:30 a.m.
  • Boos, cheers greet Macron pledge to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated
  • Feds ask for investigation into Sunwing party flight from Montreal to Mexico
  • Omicron presents unique challenges for Quebec’s hospitals
  • Everything we know about long COVID, from strange phantom smells to chronic fatigue
  • Opinion: Quebec’s curfew is extreme, but François Legault will get a pass
  • Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter

Advertisement

Article content


1:55 p.m.

Roberge ‘pretty confident’ Quebec schools will reopen Jan. 17

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge on Wednesday said he’s “pretty confident” Quebec schools will reopen on Jan. 17 but he “can’t be 100-per-cent sure.”

Quebec has delayed the reopening of elementary and high schools, with children learning remotely.

At a Montreal press conference, a reporter asked Roberge about the return to in-person learning.

“I’m pretty confident that we will go back to in-person teaching and learning in schools on Jan. 17 but I can’t be 100-per-cent sure, of course, because COVID is COVID and we have to take advice from our health authorities and we have to adapt,” the minister responded.

“But we are not the only ones. I have seen Ontario change its plan two days ago. I have seen that in France they adapted their response to the pandemic 24 hours ago. So every country and every state has to adapt.”

Advertisement

Article content

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health, also wasn’t categoric when he was asked Arruda if schools will reopen as planned on Jan. 17.

“As soon as possible,” Arruda answered. “As we say, with COVID-19, 12 days is an eternity. We’ll see where we will be. But it’s very important to understand that for us, students are a priority. We know the negative impacts” of not allowing in-person learning.

Arruda was also asked whether Quebec schools should be equipped with air purifiers, which Ontario has installed in its classrooms to help reduce the risk of infection.

Arruda said Quebec experts have studied the issue and have decided air purifiers are not necessary.

Arruda and Roberge were also asked to respond to teachers who want the province to supply them with N95 masks.

Advertisement

Article content

Both said Quebec public health officials have determined that N95 masks are not necessary for teachers.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Roberge also said:

  • Quebec will distribute 3.6 million rapid tests to children in elementary school.
  • Parents should test children with symptoms before sending them to school.
  • If symptoms develop at school, students will be tested there.
  • Teachers and other school personnel will as of Saturday, Jan. 15 be added to the “priority groups” eligible for PCR tests.
  • Masks will continue to be mandatory in schools, with the province supplying more so students can change them several times per day when necessary.
  • More than 50,000 additional carbon dioxide detectors will be installed in Quebec schools by the end of this week. That means just over half of the province’s classrooms will be equipped with detectors. Roberge said he expects the rest to get the detectors in February.
  • Teachers who booked booster appointments should monitor Clic Santé to see if they can get the shot earlier since more slots are being added daily.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Advertisement

Article content


12:40 p.m.

Opinion: Why was the social fabric and so many people’s mental health this fragile?

“There are so many reasons to be angry and more demanding of our governments right now. Our leaders need to be held accountable for their management of this pandemic and their lack of foresight as the new variant approached, and for their insufficient support of essential workers and public services. This disappointment and angst to see them do more and better are righteous, and there will be many more columns to go into more details about what more citizens deserve.

“For the new year, however, I wanted to focus on the more insidious, perhaps cultural reasons why the pandemic has led to so much anxiety, depression, and social isolation. I want to ask: Why was the social fabric and so many people’s mental health this fragile in the first place?”

Advertisement

Article content

Read the latest column by Emilie Nicolas.


12:40 p.m.

The Year Ahead: ‘We’re bent but not broken’ — restaurateur hopes for brighter 2022

“Vaccinations, reopenings and outdoor spaces brought restaurants and bars roaring back to life over the spring, summer and fall, but the recent closing of dining rooms (again) — at a time when a lot of places make enough income to pad the slower winter months — made this industry painfully aware of how fragile the situation is.

“In order to get some insider perspective, we spoke with Ryan Gray, sommelier and co-owner of Nora Gray, Elena and the newly opened Gia Vin et Grill, about overcoming adversity, keeping busy, staying positive and the year ahead.”

Read our full story, by Joanna Fox.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Advertisement

Article content


12:35 p.m.

Quebec labour minister asks employers to observe new rules on PCR tests

Quebec Labour Minister Jean Boulet on Wednesday asked the province’s employers to respect newly issued directives on public health that limit access to COVID-19 tests and reduce the isolation period for suspected infection to five days from 10.

Read our full story.


12:30 p.m.

Feds to distribute 140 million rapid tests to provinces in January

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is ramping up delivery of rapid tests to the provinces as tests run scarce across the country and access to molecular tests is restricted, The Canadian Press reports.

Jean-Yves Duclos, the federal health minister, says 140 million tests will be distributed in January on a per-capita basis.

Advertisement

Article content

Trudeau says that’s triple the number provinces received in December.

In its last fiscal update, the government earmarked $1.7 billion to secure a supply of about 180 million rapid tests.

The prime minister also confirmed there are enough vaccine doses in Canada for everyone in the country to get their booster.

Duclos says there will be enough child-sized doses for all kids aged five to 11 this month.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Advertisement

Article content


11:45 a.m.

Chart: Quebec’s vaccination campaign


11:40 a.m.

Flowchart: How to interpret rapid test results in Quebec


11:35 a.m.

Don’t come looking for rapid tests yet, pharmacists plead

Quebec pharmacists are urging people not to call or visit a pharmacy before next week looking for rapid tests.

The Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires (AQPP) said tests are expected to be delivered to pharmacies during the week of Jan. 10, with the majority of stores expected to have them in stock by Tuesday, Jan. 11.

“Unfortunately, we have no control over the arrival or delivery of tests. Once they are in the hands of pharmacists, they are distributed to patients without delay,” said AQPP president Benoit Morin.

Advertisement

Article content

“As soon as they are delivered, pharmacies will make them available to the population and inform them of the procedure to follow to obtain them.”

The association, which represents 1,900 pharmacies, said every person age 14 and older can receive a kit, which includes five tests.

It reminded Quebecers not to visit pharmacies if they have symptoms of COVID-19.


11:25 a.m.

Updated charts: Montreal, Quebec regions


11:15 a.m.

Chart: Current situation vs. one year ago


11:15 a.m.

Chart: Hospitalizations – vaccinated vs. unvaccinated


11:15 a.m.

Updated charts: Quebec cases, deaths


11:05 a.m.

Hospitalizations jump by 158 as Quebec reports 39 deaths – most in 11 months

Quebec has recorded 14,486 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced this morning.

Advertisement

Article content

Hospitalizations surged to their highest level since May 2020.

In addition, 39 new deaths were reported – the most reported in one day since early February 2021.

Some other key statistics from Quebec’s latest COVID-19 update:

  • Montreal Island: 3,784 new cases, 3 deaths.
  • Net increase in hospitalizations: 158, for total of 1,750 (321 entered hospital, 163 discharged).
  • Net increase in intensive care patients: 6, for total of 191 (29 entered ICUs, 23 discharged).
  • 92,506 vaccine doses administered over previous 24 hours.
  • 55,339 tests conducted Monday.
  • Positivity rate: 28.1 per cent.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Quebec has reported 680,308 cases and 11,820 deaths linked to COVID-19.


10:50 a.m.

Roberge, Arruda to provide update on distance learning in schools

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge and public health director Horacio Arruda are to provide an update on distance learning in elementary and high schools today.

Advertisement

Article content

I’ll have a video feed and live coverage.

It’s scheduled to start at 1 p.m.


10:15 a.m.

Quebec explains new isolation rules, eligibility criteria for PCR tests


9:50 a.m.

Trudeau and Tam to hold first federal update of the new year

I’ll have a video feed at 11:30 a.m.

From The Canadian Press:

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam will join Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this morning for the first federal COVID-19 update of the new year.

The update follows Trudeau’s phone call yesterday with B.C. Premier and Council of the Federation chair John Horgan, where the prime minister said he would hold a call with the premiers next week to discuss how governments are keeping citizens safe.

The surge in cases brought on by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has forced multiple provinces to postpone non-urgent surgeries, reduce access to COVID tests and delay the return to in-person learning for students.

Advertisement

Article content

Trudeau’s office says he and Horgan also discussed the Canada Health Transfer, and agreed to continue discussions with all provincial and territorial governments to ensure Canadians are supported by effective health-care systems.

Trudeau repeated his call for Canadians to get vaccinated against the virus as he received a booster shot at an Ottawa pharmacy Tuesday.

Quebecers 55 and over became eligible to book appointments for a third dose on Tuesday, while Saskatchewan announced it will open up fourth doses to people who are immunocompromised, provided it has been three months since their third shot.


9:45 a.m.

Boos, cheers greet Macron pledge to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated

From the Reuters news agency:

The French government on Wednesday defended President Emmanuel Macron’s use of a coarse insult in a stepped-up campaign against France’s unvaccinated after the phrase drew condemnation from the opposition and mixed reactions from voters.

Advertisement

Article content

Parliament suspended debate on a COVID-19 bill as opposition lawmakers demanded explanations from Macron, who earlier said he wanted to “piss off” unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting jabbed.

“A president cannot say such things,” Christian Jacob, chair of the conservative Les Republicans party, told parliament as it discussed a bill to make it mandatory for people to show proof of vaccination to enter many enclosed public spaces.

But government spokesman Gabriel Attal said it stood by Macron’s comment to Le Parisien newspaper, published late on Tuesday.

“Who is pissing off who today?” Attal said, quoting health workers struggling to cope or businesses hurt by the pandemic. “It’s those who refuse the vaccine.”

Advertisement

Article content

With a presidential election due in April in which he is expected to run, Macron may have calculated that enough people are now vaccinated – and upset with remaining anti-vaxxers – for his comment to go down well with voters.

It resonated with some.

“He’s right,” said 89-year-old Paris pensioner Jean, who’s had his COVID-19 booster and a flu shot too. “Those who are against the vaccine should understand the dangers, and they should get vaccinated.”

But others agreed with lawmaker Jacob that Macron’s use of the slang term “emmerder” – from “merde” (shit) – was unacceptable.

“That shows an aggressive side, it’s a bad word, it’s not very clever of him,” said 25-year old sales representative Maya Belhassen.

“That’s not a good comment from a president,” added newspaper seller Pascal Delord.

Advertisement

Article content


9:40 a.m.

Aislin

Editorial cartoon for Jan. 6, 2022.
Editorial cartoon for Jan. 6, 2022. Photo by Aislin

9:25 a.m.

Feds ask for investigation into Sunwing party flight from Montreal to Mexico

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has asked Transport Canada to investigate reports of “unacceptable” behaviour on a recent Sunwing Airlines flight from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico.

According to reports, the plane had been chartered and some of the passengers were cast members from Quebec reality television shows.

Read our full story.

Advertisement

Article content

An investigation was prompted when media reports were circulating of passengers behaving inappropriately on a Sunwing Airlines flight from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico.
An investigation was prompted when media reports were circulating of passengers behaving inappropriately on a Sunwing Airlines flight from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico. Photo by INSTAGRAM

9:25 a.m.

Omicron presents unique challenges for Quebec’s hospitals

Hospitals across Quebec are grappling with a new phenomenon in the latest COVID-19 wave: how to categorize adult patients who test positive for the coronavirus, but who have mild or no symptoms and whose primary diagnosis for admission was a medical condition other than the pandemic illness.

Read our full story, by Aaron Derfel.


9:25 a.m.

Everything we know about long COVID, from strange phantom smells to chronic fatigue

Long COVID is a vague, poorly defined condition without a prognosis or proven treatments and that an unclear number of Canadians may have had or may still be living with.

With 271 million confirmed infections worldwide, some researchers have warned long COVID is the next “looming catastrophe,” with prevalence estimates all over the map, from as low as two per cent of the COVID “recovered” to as high as 89 per cent.

Advertisement

Article content

Read our full story.


9:25 a.m.

Opinion: Quebec’s curfew is extreme, but François Legault will get a pass

“Premier François Legault admits that the curfew — 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. — is an ‘extreme measure.’ He commits to lifting it as soon as possible, based on criteria that only he and his team will determine.

“It is especially troubling that a government can impose such a drastic measure with so few countervailing mechanisms designed to foster democratic debate and limit the duration of this rights-depriving policy.”

Read André Pratte’s latest column.


9:20 a.m.

Toronto Zoo says it’s closing temporarily to protect animals, ensure staffing

The Toronto Zoo is closing temporarily starting today as stricter public health measures meant to curb the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 take effect in Ontario, The Canadian Press reports.

Advertisement

Article content

While its outdoor portion could remain open under the new rules, the zoo says it is choosing to close to protect the health of staff, patrons and animals — particularly those vulnerable to COVID-19.

The organization says it wants to ensure critical staffing levels for animal care and infrastructure maintenance.

It says the temporary closure will allow it to redeploy and train employees for these key roles should COVID-19 cause staffing shortages.

Zoo staff will remain on site throughout the closure to care for the animals.

The zoo says the closure will last until at least Jan. 27, and those who have already purchased tickets can use them afterwards or request a refund.


9:15 a.m.

Quebec continues to lead the country in per-capita cases

Here’s the rate of case growth per 100,000 people over the past seven days, via the federal government’s latest epidemiological update .

Advertisement

Article content


9:15 a.m.

FAQ: Who can get their third dose in Quebec? And when?

Quebec is expanding eligibility for a third COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Here’s what you need to know about the province’s booster plan.


9:15 a.m.

A guide to Quebec’s COVID-19 vaccine passport

Quebec’s vaccine passport is mandatory for people 13 and older who want to access services and activities deemed non-essential by the provincial government, including bars, restaurants, gyms, festivals and sporting events.

Quebecers can use a smartphone app to prove their vaccination status or simply carry their QR code on paper.

The app is available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play .

We have published two guides to the passports – one looks at how to download and set up the app , and another answers key questions about the system, including how, when and why.

Advertisement

Article content

You can find more information on the Quebec government’s website – one page has details on how the system works, and another has a list of the places where a vaccine passport will be required .

A test scan of a vaccine passport is shown at an Econofitness gym in Laval on Aug. 17, 2021.
A test scan of a vaccine passport is shown at an Econofitness gym in Laval on Aug. 17, 2021. Photo by Christinne Muschi /REUTERS

9:15 a.m.

A guide to COVID-19 vaccinations in Quebec

Local health authorities have set up vaccination sites across Montreal.

You can book appointments via the Clic Santé website or by phone at 1-877-644-4545.

Quebecers can also visit walk-in AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccine clinics .

Here are the nuts and bolts of getting vaccinated , by Katherine Wilton. Her guide includes the age groups targeted, how to book appointments, and addresses of vaccination centres.


9:15 a.m.

Here are the current pandemic restrictions in Montreal and Quebec

We are regularly updating our guide to what services are open, closed or modified in Montreal and Quebec.

Advertisement

Article content

You can read it here.


9:15 a.m.

Here’s where Montrealers can get tested today

Montrealers can be screened at test centres across the island.

For other parts of Quebec, check out this page on the Quebec government’s site .


8:30 a.m.

Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter

Stay informed with our daily email newsletter focused on local coronavirus coverage and other essential news, delivered directly to your email inbox by 7 p.m. on weekdays.

You can sign up here .


ariga@postmedia.com

Read my previous live blogs here.


Advertisement





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.