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Quebec COVID-19 cases soar with 1,171 new infections on Saturday, most since April

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MONTREAL -

For the second day in a row, Quebec reported over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases when the health ministry said 1,171 more people have tested positive for the virus.

It is the highest daily increase in cases since April 30 when the Quebec Institute of Public Health (INSPQ) reported the same number of new cases.

Of the new cases, 714 people were unvaccinated, 12 received one dose of vaccine more than 14 days prior and 445 were double-vaxxed more than seven days prior to testing positive.

The health ministry says you are 3.7 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 if you are not vaccinated and 1.7 times more likely if you've received one dose.

There are currently 667 active outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.

The province also recorded three new deaths and hospitalizations dropped by one.

Of the 20 patients who checked into Quebec hospitals for COVID-19 treatment, seven were unvaccinated and 13 received both doses of vaccine more than seven days prior to checking into the hospital. There are five more people in intensive care wards than there were 24 hours for a total of 48.

WHY THE RISE IN CASES

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Matthew Oughton said there are several potential reasons for the sudden rise in cases.

The first contributor is the drop in temperature making it easier for the virus to transmit.

"We've seen this happen last winter as well," said Oughton. "Colder weather means people spending more time indoors with poorer ventilation and probably more time closer together indoors with improper ventilation equals easier transmission."

In addition, Oughton cited recent research that shows a gradual waning protection against all infections for those who have been double vaccinated.

"What we're seeing is that over time is that people who are fully vaccinated start to become more likely to get a new infection or what they call a breakthrough infection, however, the breakthrough infections are typically not severe infections," he said. "Even though there are cases, they tend to overwhelmingly be mild cases."

This point is highlighted by the rise in new cases, but stable numbers of hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus. For example, on Nov. 27, 2020, Quebec reported 1,269 new COVID-19 cases with 38 more deaths. In addition, there were 669 people in Quebec hospitals with 90 of those in intensive care wards.

"If you look at the proportion of all cases to severe disease now compared to all cases to severe disease a year ago before we started vaccinating, it's very clear that there are proportionally much fewer cases of severe disease and the severe diseases we're seeing is in those that are not fully vaccinated," said Oughton.

VACCINATION CAMPAIGN

Quebec's vaccination rate remains at 84 per cent for those who have received a first dose, and 81 per cent for those who have received both doses.

Health-care professionals administered 14,057 more doses to children aged five to 11 received, and there are now 29,876 in that age group who have got their first jab.

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