MONTREAL -- Quebec's health minister made yet another plea on Tuesday to a certain 15 per cent of Quebecers: get vaccinated. 

Health Minister Christan Dubé said that the numbers of those hospitalized may seem small. But he'd like people to keep one thing in mind: Quebec is so low on nursing staff by now, it can't afford any more strain.

Seven more patients were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in the last day, including three in intensive care. Most of those weren't fully vaccinated, as is the case with most of the hundreds of more mild new daily infections.

Dube said the province is coming out of a summer where it barely managed to avoid increasing surgery wait lists. Private clinics have stepped in to keep regular surgeries going through the fourth wave.

But he indicated Tuesday that Quebec is now at a critical juncture now. Quebec is short 4,000 nurses, there are regions of Quebec where the staff shortage is so low -- in Abitibi, for example -- that authorities there will have to close an emergency room in order to preserve other services.

All strains on the system are exacerbated by COVID-19, and unvaccinated patients are much more likely to need hospital care than the vaccinated.

The hospital network in Montreal and other regions can't afford, staffing-wise, to take care of these patients without forcing others to postpone urgent operations, Dubé said.

Watch the video above to see his comments.