No plans to impose obligatory public health measures this fall: Quebec health officials
Quebec health officials say there is no plan to impose obligatory public health measures come this fall.
Premier François Legault made the announcement during a public health update Tuesday morning, alongside Health Minister Christian Dubé, Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau and Quebec immunization committee (CIQ) President Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh.
This comes one day after Quebec launched its most recent COVID-19 booster vaccination campaign, targeting people living in CHSLDs and private seniors' residences (RPAs) due to a possible increase in infections as students return to school across the province.
Legault emphasized the fact that vaccination does wane after a few months.
"The reason we could return to a normal life this summer is thanks to vaccination," he said. "This is a good time to launch a massive vaccination campaign."
The recommended interval between baseline vaccination and a first booster dose is three months or more, while the suggested interval between each subsequent booster dose is five months or more.
"I'm counting on you," he stressed.
Consider getting a booster dose not only for yourself, said Legault, but for the province's vulnerable and health-care workers across the province.
"It's important; they had a tough two years, so they need your help," he said. "Please get your new dose."
Legault and Dubé note that during the electoral campaign ahead of the Oct. 3 provincial election, they will not participate in public health updates alongside Boileau, unless there is a pressing issue that requires their presence.
Wednesday, Quebec added 1,256 new PCR COVID-19 infections -- a total of 1,165,128 since the start of the pandemic.
The number of Quebecers in hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19 has decreased by 29, for a total of 1,964, including 679 due to COVID-19.
Intensive care admissions are down by five for 50 patients, including 29 specifically to be treated for COVID-19.
The province's health officials also confirmed 36 more deaths, a total of 16,165.
On Aug. 14, a total of 9,362 samples were analyzed.
A total of 276,642 rapid tests have been declared, with 231,497 positive.
In addition, Quebecers declared 241 rapid tests, with 199 positive results.
There are 4,109 health care workers absent due to COVID-19-related reasons.
Quebec's health-care professionals administered 11,652 more vaccinations for a total of 20,468,759 doses.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé points out vaccination against the virus does not completely prevent infection, but it does decrease the risk of dire consequences.
As of Aug. 15, 91 per cent of the eligible population aged five and up have received their first dose of a vaccine and 56 per cent have received three.
An additional 19 per cent have received four.
The government has not included data for children aged six months to four years old.
LACK OF PLANS 'PERPLEXING': SPECIALIST
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Donald Vinh said he was hoping to hear more from the premier, namely a plan in case there's a bad wave in the fall.
While he's in favour of nearly everyone getting a booster dose, he says it’s "wishful thinking" given that as of Tuesday, only 56 per cent of Quebecers have gotten their third dose and only 19 per cent have had a fourth.
"I think it’s a bit perplexing because an institution of public health, the INSPQ, has warned that this fall could be very difficult with another wave," he said.
"You would have thought that if your own institution is warning you that things could be bad, the reflexive response would have been 'okay, what do we do about it?' And the answer today is nothing," he said. "Today's press conference really comes down to just crossing your fingers and hoping."
Vinh said he wanted to hear of plans to monitor wastewater, and hear that there could be at least limited mask mandates if the virus is spreading rapidly.
- With files form CTV News Montreal's Rob Lurie
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