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Quebec reports 13,149 new COVID-19 cases, yet another record; hospitalizations rise by 102


Quebec reported its highest daily COVID-19 case count yet on Wednesday with 13,149 new infections.

Hospitalizations continue to rise at a quicker pace as well, with a net increase of 102, while seven more intensive care beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Ten more people have died from the virus.

Another key indicator, the test positivity rate, rose to 28 per cent, meaning that more than one in four of all PCR tests in the province are coming back positive.

Late this fall, as the Omicron variant was discovered, health authorities said that 800 hospital beds across the province had been reserved for COVID-19 patients in case of a major wave. On Wednesday, the province topped that number, reaching a total of 804 patients in hospital.

The capacity has grown slightly over the last couple of months as the hospital system has juggled resources, but not by much. On Wednesday, official statistics listed the total hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients as 825 beds outside the ICU, and 210 ICU beds.

Right now, there's a total of 682 patients outside ICUs and 122 in ICUs.

Warning things are hitting a crisis point with hospital staffing, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced on Tuesday that some health-care workers will, from now on, be asked to return to work even after testing positive for the virus.

It's part of a plan laid out in more detail over the last couple of weeks.

Overall right now, there are over 78,000 active cases of coronavirus across Quebec, an increase of about 9,000 cases over the last 24 hours -- a total that also takes into account all the people declared recovered over the last day.

Provincial leaders have also repeatedly admitted that the official case counts are undercounting the true total, since it is very hard to get a test in many parts of the province, and rapid tests are not part of the official count.

The number of official tests has also dropped over the holidays, from a high of over 62,000 tests performed on Dec. 22 to only about 40,000 done on Boxing Day, and back up slightly to around 47,000 each of the last two days.


The vaccination campaign has continued at full steam over the holidays, with 88,309 new shots given out in the last 24 hours.

The vast majority are boosters or third doses, with 78,346 new third shots administered on Tuesday. That brings Quebec to a total of 14 per cent booster coverage across the population.

On Tuesday, health officials laid out the schedule for those under 60 to get their own third doses, saying the entire population will be eligible by the end of January.

The new statistics show that the group with lowest overall vaccine coverage, those aged 18 to 39, are also doing some catch-up and hundreds are finally getting vaccinated now, about six months after becoming eligible.

In the last day, this group made up a big share of those receiving both first and second doses: 459 people of this demographic got their first shots, and 643 got their second shots, more than any other age group.

The biggest group getting their first shots at this point is consistently children under 12, 1,560 of whom got their doses in the last 24 hours.

People who are unvaccinated continue to have a much higher risk of being hospitalized.

The two groups are now being infected at roughly the same rate, with 18.5 per cent of the new cases among the unvaccinated or those who had received one dose less than two weeks prior. That number matches up with the 18 per cent of eligible Quebecers who are not fully vaccinated.

However, when it came to new hospitalizations, unvaccinated people were far overrepresented, accounting for 75 new hospitalizations, compared to 99 fully vaccinated people who were newly hospitalized. While the unvaccinated group is smaller, it's a much bigger share for this group, considering they account for less than 20 per cent of the population.

According to the province, the unvaccinated are currently 11.2 times more likely to be hospitalized than the vaccinated.

In total, 6,479,971 people have been double-vaccinated and 1,583,836 are unvaccinated.


Across the province, Montreal has the highest active infection rate, with 1,240 current cases per 100,000 people, or more than one in 100 of all Montrealers currently infected.

That's helping drive up the provincial average, which now stands at 911 active cases per 100,000 people, or nearly one in 100 people infected.

Just behind Montreal is Lanaudière, just northeast of the urban centre, with a rate of 1,165.

All other regions in the province have rates under 1,000. In descending order, the other hardest-hit regions are Montérégie at 962; Laval at 961; Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Quebec at 927; and Chaudiere-Appalaches at 920. 

Other regions that have worsened especially quickly over the past week are the Outaouais, which now has a rate of 883, and Quebec City, which went from weeks of fairly low rates to its current 664.


Though Wednesday's overall case numbers far outstripped those reported exactly a year ago, the pandemic was far more dire last year in terms of deaths. 

Current hospitalizations, however, are approaching the levels of a year ago, when the province entered a weeks-long hospital capacity crisis.

On Dec. 29, 2020, Quebec reported 2,381 new cases, part of series of numbers that were record-breaking at the time (before Omicron, the overall record was set in early January of 2021). 

On that day, there were 64 new deaths reported, more than six times Wednesday's count, helping illustrate in part how the vaccine is now protecting the vast majority of the population from serious illness and death.

A year ago, there were only seven people newly admitted to hospital, bringing the total to 1,131 hospitalized -- a number Quebec can expect to reach within days if it continues adding hospital patients in the hundreds each day, as it has the last two days.

There were 148 people in intensive care a year ago, compared to today's 122. Top Stories

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