Quebec must prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall, as virus-related hospitalizations tripled in the past month, the province’s health minister said Friday.
Christian Dubé spoke about the evolving situation during the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) caucus meeting in Saguenay, saying he expects this number to increase.
“Three weeks ago we had 300 people hospitalized due to COVID,” he said Friday. “This morning there are almost 900. So I’m just looking at these numbers and listening to what the WHO (World Health Organization) said yesterday and it’s going to increase.”
Many of these patients are admitted for other reasons and contracted the new coronavirus during their hospital stay, according to Dubé.
Although the health minister said he didn’t want to worry people, the province will be ready to launch a new vaccination campaign in October.
“What Quebecers are asking us is to ensure we are ready,” he declared. “And I think to be ready, whatever that number is – 3,000 in hospitals or 2,000 in hospitals – I don’t know. But I think we know that the best cure is vaccination.
“So we tell Quebecers that we will be ready to get vaccinated if you want to get vaccinated. »
In late August, the Health Ministry suggested vulnerable people – such as the elderly, pregnant women and health workers – should receive a booster shot in the fall. This opinion follows a recommendation from the Quebec immunization committee and Dr. Luc Boileau, director of public health.
On Friday, Dubé said he expects the province will be able to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to nearly 10,000 people per day for the next month.
The health minister made the remarks as he announced that dozens of vaccination clinics set up during the pandemic will become permanent.
All 100 sites currently offer COVID-19, flu and shingles vaccinations. They are also distributing free rapid COVID-19 tests to anyone who requests them.
These vaccination clinics will be transformed into expanded centers to provide additional services, such as blood and strep testing.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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