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Quebec officials continue to urge caution as 7th COVID-19 wave plateaus

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This summer-season wave is higher than Quebec public health officials anticipated but it is stabilizing, Dr. Luc Boileau said Friday.

The province's public health director held a news conference Friday afternoon to provide an update on COVID-19, where he continued to urge caution.

"Living with the virus does not mean living as if there is no virus. It means resuming some of the activities of normal life, while protecting yourself and others," said Boileau. "The pandemic is not over."

Boileau reminded the public to wear a mask when you can't keep a distance or are in a crowded space, take a rapid test if you feel sick, isolate if you test positive and keep vaccinations up to date.

Quebec reported 1,460 new COVID-19 infections Friday and 16 additional deaths related to the coronavirus.

Hospitalizations are on the decline, with 2,176 total, including 738 due to COVID-19 -- for a decrease of 46 compared to the previous day. There were 180 new entries and 226 new discharges.

Sixty-eight people are in intensive care, including 31 due to COVID-19, a decrease of one.

In addition, a total of 6,334 health-care workers are off the job right now for reasons related to COVID-19.

The seventh wave will reach a plateau in the next few days before slowly declining, Boileau said.

That cases are stabilizing is a good sign, said Dr. Matthew Oughton, infectious diseases specialist at the MUHC.

"That is still double where we were five weeks ago, but it hasn't really progressed from that point," he said. "Some small indicators that things aren't getting worse. To me, include the fact that the number of health-care workers who are off because of quarantine or COVID-19 symptoms are at least a little better now."

Another 9,229 doses of the vaccine have been administered in the last 24 hours, for a cumulative total of 20,317,537 doses given to Quebecers.

Boileau recommended anyone who received their last dose at least five months ago is eligible to get their next booster shot -- though anyone who contracted COVID-19 should wait three months until after the infection to get a booster.

As of Monday, parents of children aged six months to four years old can book an appointment to have their child vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Of course there are benefits to be vaccinated, but we haven't had a lot of hospitalizations of kids," said Boileau.

HESITATION AMONG PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN

Health Canada recently approved Moderna's Spikevax vaccine for young children and Quebec received its first shipment of over 70,000 doses this week.

The six-month to four-year age group represents approximately 400,000 Quebec children.

However, a July 8 to 20 survey released by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) on Tuesday indicates only 41 per cent of parents of children aged four years or younger intend to have them inoculated.

Of the respondents, 40 per cent of parents said they did not plan to vaccinate and 19 per cent reported that their decision had not yet been made up.

The main reason parents gave was, at 23 per cent, that they did not see the need for it because they consider the health risks of COVID-19 to be low for their child.

Of the remainder, 20 per cent said they were concerned about possible side effects and 17 per cent said they did not believe the coronavirus vaccines were effective.

 

 

-- with files from The Canadian Press

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