Quebec COVID-19 cases rise over 2,000 for first time since January, with six new deaths
Quebec's COVID-19 cases continue to rise, passing the 2,000 mark on Friday as the province reported 2,013 new cases.
There have been six new deaths, the province said.
The last time the daily case count rose above 2,000 was Jan. 13, as the province contended with the worst of its winter wave, according to retroactive data from Quebec's public health institute.
At the time they're reported, case counts are generally higher than public health officials later determine them to be, so counts of more than 2,000 continued to be recorded later in January and have since been lowered.
The rate of positive cases among all the tests done has also risen very close to the alarm threshold of five per cent, hitting 4.8 per cent.
There are a total of 12,921 active cases across the province, another major jump. That's the highest since April 18, when Quebec recorded a spring peak of 13,374.
Hospitalizations, however, were relatively stable on Friday, with a net increase of just one patient in hospital and two more in intensive care.
Turnover at the hospital is quite high, with 26 new entries recorded and 25 discharged from care, for a total of 256 people getting hospital care.
In the ICU, there were nine new entries and seven patients who stopped receiving intensive care, leaving a current total of 62.
Among the province's 944 active outbreaks -- a drop from the previous day -- the majority are still among young children, with 43 per cent at primary schools and preschools and another 10 per cent at daycares.
Nearly another 30 per cent of current outbreaks are tied to workplaces.
OMICRON NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BUMP, PROVINCE SAYS
Despite the fears of the fast-spreading Omicron variant, Quebec officials said this week that the variant hasn't begun to spread within Quebec yet, reporting only five cases as of Wednesday, all of them tied to international travel.
Another seven cases are under investigation.
Also, despite Friday's high case count, the portrait is not as dire as this time last year, with hospitalizations and deaths far lower than they were before mass vaccination.
On this day in 2020, Quebec saw 1,842 cases, but 33 deaths and 848 total hospitalizations, including 113 in the ICU.
The pace of vaccinations continues to pick up, with 35,552 shots newly administered as of Friday, including 12,000 to children ages five to 11 and 13,000 booster shots to people over 70.
Unvaccinated Quebecers are currently 15.9 times more likely to be hospitalized than fully vaccinated people, according to the province's analysis of the last 28 days' worth of data.
EASTERN TOWNSHIPS, LAVAL WORSENING
One region in the province stands out for its ever-worsening infection rate: the Eastern Townships, east of Montreal, where there are currently 308 active infections per 100,000 people.
That's the second-highest in Quebec, but not by much, after Nunavik's rate dropped sharply in the last week following months of crisis. Nunavik now stands at a rate of 333 active cases per 100,000 people.
Third-worst in the province is Laval, whose numbers have also spiked this week to a rate of 226. It's followed closely by Chaudiere-Appalaches, with 225.
Significant increases have also appeared for Montreal, whose rate now stands at 180, the Laurentians (159), Mauricie-Centre-du-Quebec (157), and Lanaudiere (156).
Eight of Quebec's regions are still showing rates of under 100, including Quebec City and the Outaouais.
With files from CTV's Daniel J. Rowe.