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Quebec health minister will give update after spike in cases, hospitalizations over Christmas

Health Minister Christian Dubé will be providing an update on the COVID-19 situation in the province, as cases and hospitalizations shot up while no daily government data was being published between Dec. 23 and 26. 

There were 12,833 new cases reported on Tuesday in the province and 15 more deaths. The number of cases represents another record for daily cases in Quebec. 

CBC will air the update live at 1 p.m. — you can watch it here.

According to data tables published on the province’s public health institute, the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), there were more than 10,000 new cases of the virus reported on both Dec. 22 and 23.

There are 702 people in hospital (an increase of 88 from the previous day), including 115 in intensive care (an increase of six).

Capacity in hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients is slightly higher than last week, at 825, according to the latest dashboard of data published by the Health Ministry on Twitter.

Hospital officials said they are cutting down on non-urgent procedures and activities, delaying up to 50 per cent of surgeries, in order to free up staff to help out with COVID patients. 

Quebecers aged 60 and over can now book their appointment for a third COVID-19 vaccine dose, or can visit a no-appointment vaccination clinic, such as the one at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube responds to a question during a news conference in Montreal, on Thursday, December 16, 2021. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Before the holiday period, Premier François Legault held a news conference accompanied by Dubé and Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province’s director of public health. Legault said Quebecers should expect an “exponential” rise in cases and hospitalizations. 

Monday, the limits on gatherings Legault announced last week came into effect. Indoor groups are now limited to six people, or two households.

Restaurants are also limited to serving groups of six, or two family bubbles. Legault said the new measures are aimed at preventing hospitals from being overrun. 

While much of the focus has been on hospitals, some outbreaks have begun to pop up in nursing homes and in long-term care. 

CHSLD Marguerite-Rocheleau — a long-term care residence for seniors — has reported a major outbreak among staff and employees.

The facility, located in Saint-Hubert in the Montérégie region, reported 92 active cases Tuesday. Some 61 residents and 31 staff are infected. Two people have died.

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