Quebec extends mask use until end of April
Public Health Director says decision’s due to rising COVID cases and hospitalization
Quebec extends province mandate indoors at least until April 30. That was announced on Tuesday April 5th, 2022, by the top doctor of the province.
The interim director of public health Dr. Luc Boileau explained the decision in a press conference on Tuesday April 5th, saying the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations amid the province’s sixth wave prompted him to recommend maintaining the measure – just 10 days before it was expected to be lifted.
“The virus is still circulating vigorously,” Boileau said. “We prefer to take a more cautious approach and it is our responsibility to do so.” He said the measure would be maintained for the next two weeks and would be regularly re-evaluated by public health officials. “Our intention is not to keep the masks forever,” he said.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, April 4th, 2022, Prime Minister Francois Legault hinted that the province was leaning towards extending the measure beyond the scheduled date of April 15 but said he did not expect any new restrictions in view of the sixth wave. “Fortunately, many people have their three vaccines, so the impact so far is that we do not expect to add new measures,” he said.
At the federal level, Canada’s vaccine advisory body recommends “rapid development” of a 2nd booster shot for 80+ people, while in Quebec, Quebec’s director of public health says “all options are on the table” ahead of Wave 6
According to recent forecasts from the Quebec Provincial Institute of Health (INESSS), the province is expected to see an increase in both infections and hospitalizations in the coming weeks. Boileau estimates that Omicron’s highly contagious subtype, BA.2, accounts for 75 percent of new cases.
Dr. Luc Boileau reminded Quebec citizens who tested positive for the virus that they should be isolated for the first five days and then remain vigilant for the next five. “You can be contagious for a period of 10 days,” he said. “This is not the time to go to restaurants, to shows, to do sports with others, or to entertain people,” Boileau said.
The 4th dose
Vaccination remains an effective tool for preventing complications and hospitalization for the virus, Boileau said. Last week, Quebec opened access to a fourth dose of the vaccine to Quebecers who are more vulnerable to serious complications than COVID-19 – the elderly over the age of 80, immunocompromised people and residents of nursing homes.
But the government is also calling for attention to be paid to people aged 60 and over, saying that most people currently in intensive care are in this age group. On Tuesday, April 5, Boileau announced that Quebec is giving its fourth shot to people aged 70 and older as of Wednesday the 6th of April and as of Monday, April 11th to people aged 60 and older.