MONTREAL -- Quebec's Mauricie region is expanding its pandemic resources following a spike in new COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday, Jean Boulet, the minister responsible for the region and CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Quebec deputy president Gilles Hudon announced a mobile vaccination clinic would be deployed in Trois-Rivieres from Wednesday to Saturday and that the search was on for a site to house a temporary screening centre.

Hudon also said teams of health and safety professionals would be deployed to “crisscross the downtown, go to restaurants and bars to educate people about the importance of public health measures” on Thursday and Friday.

Boulet added that the government is “ready to deploy a vaccination passport if the situation deteriorates,” adding that that step remains “hypothetical” for the moment.

The minister added an optimistic note, saying that only a few thousand more people require vaccines to hit the government's target of 75 per cent in the region.

“The situation is worrying but still under control,” said Hudon.

The rise in cases, which include 98 new cases in the last four days, is being driven by young people who “are not vaccinated or who have received only one dose,” according to Hudon.

“The events that are causing the increase in cases, at present, are really parties with friends, family reunions and frequenting bars,” said Daniele Samson, medical officer for the regional directorate of public health.

According to data from the Quebec Institute of Public Health (INSPQ), only 42 per cent of Mauricie residents between the ages of 18 and 29 have been fully vaccinated as of Monday, compared to 59 per cent of the region's total population.

Samson said the most prevalent variant of COVID-19 found in the Mauricie outbreaks is the Alpha, or British variant.

As of Monday, 150 active cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Mauricie and Centre-du-Quebec region, which is more than triple the amount from last week. A week earlier, that number was only seven.

Trois-Riviieres has been particularly hard hit, with 67 active cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 37 for Laval and 22 for Greater Montreal.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Aug. 3, 2021.

This article has been produced with financial support from the Facebook and The Canadian Press News Scholarships.