MONTREAL — Two more regions in Quebec are moving from yellow to orange COVID-19 alert zones, said Health Minister Christian Dube Tuesday, as the second wave of infections begins to take shape.
Dube said in a news conference that Laval and the Outaouais will turn from yellow to orange zones and the Centre du Quebec will move from green to yellow. Along with Montreal, the Quebec City region and Chaudiere-Appalaches, five regions in the province are now considered at the stage three “warning” level.
The second wave looks much different from the first because of how it is reaching various regions throughout the province, said Dube.
“This second wave doesn’t look like the first one,” he said, showing graphs with new cases in the Quebec City area and Chaudiere-Appalaches. The chart illustrated how those regions were stable during the first wave and are now seeing higher caseloads.
“We see that regions that have been spared such as Capitale-Nationale, Chaudiere-Appalaches during the first wave are now very affected by the virus,” he said.
Quebec health authorities reported 489 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the province since the start of the pandemic to 68,617.
One more death was recorded in Quebec for a total of 5,805. Officials say the death took place sometime between Sept. 15 and 20.
Quebec reported an increase of 20 hospitalizations from Monday to Tuesday, for a total of 168. Of them, 28 are in intensive care, which is a decrease of two from the number reported 24 hours earlier.
Dube said once of the other main differences is this second wave is community spread. The the first wave of COVID-19 in the province, many cases spread throughout elder-care homes, eventually leading to many hospitalizations and deaths.
In this wave, cases are spreading throughout the community, and largely among younger people. This is still cause for concern, said Dube.
“Even though it doesn’t have as many deaths and hospitalizations, it’s really very painful,” he said. “Even if the age of infected people is younger, at the end of the day it will end up among the most vulnerable people.”
Community transmission also spreads to health care staff, putting a strain on the health network, he said.
Hospitalization levels are “safe” said Dube, adding that the government will unveil its 31-day projections on Wednesday that will include simulations for the next month.
Dube said that though the province is in a second wave, he doesn’t intend to make any changes to schooling, including imposing the wearing of masks in classrooms.
“So far the outbreaks in schools have not been at the level where we need to change,” he said, adding that officials are revisited decisions “all the time” as the situation unfolds.
As of Tuesday, 59,450 people are confirmed recovered from COVID-19 in Quebec, which is 319 more than the 59,131 reported on Monday.
On Sept. 20, Quebec performed analyses on 25,025 COVID-19 tests (Quebec reports its daily testing figures from two days prior).
After Quebec reported 586 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda said the province has officially entered the second wave of the disease.
Dube took to Twitter later Monday night to explain rules on private gatherings for Quebec regions in the “orange” zone of the province’s regional alert system.
This is a developing story that will be updated.
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