Quebec will reinstate curfew as Omicron cases soar

▶ Quebec will reinstate curfew as Omicron cases soar, report says. Officials are believed to be considering a curfew starting New Year’s Eve.

The announcement is expected Thursday afternoon. (Source: Montreal Gazette)

After reporting more than 14,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day, the Quebec government is expected to announce new pandemic restrictions Thursday evening.

Premier François Legault and Health Minister Christian Dubé have called a news conference for 5 p.m.

According to a report in La Presse , the government is considering reimposing a provincewide curfew and possibly shutting restaurants.

The report states the curfew could go into effect Friday — New Year’s Eve — and last for three weeks. Other measures could include delaying the return to class until Jan. 17 and further restricting gatherings, which have been limited to six people since Sunday .

The news conference comes as Quebec continues to grapple with surging cases fuelled by the more transmissible Omicron variant and an increasingly fragile health network .

In addition to recording 14,188 cases on Thursday, which is the largest single-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic, hospitalizations in the province jumped by 135, bringing the total to 939. Of those patients, 138 are in intensive care.

As of Thursday, Quebec says its hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients stands at 1,252 for patients who don’t require intensive care and 319 for those who do.

In new projections released Thursday, the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) suggests Quebec could see anywhere between 1,600 and 2,100 hospitalizations within the next three weeks.

The number of people requiring intensive care could climb to between 300 and 375 during the same time, the institute said.

The INESSS produced two sets of projections given the exponential growth in cases the province has seen, noting cases have increased by 172 per cent since last week.

“Both models predict significant growth in new hospitalizations and consequent occupancy of regular and intensive care beds over the next three weeks,” the projections say.

The institute says the rise in hospitalizations could be slowed by added vaccination efforts or by “the impact of recently implemented or upcoming health measures.”

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