Dubé Had Strong Words For The Unvaccinated & Arruda Said 'Everything Is On The Table'

Officials haven't ruled out mandatory vaccination.

Senior Editor
Dubé Had Strong Words For The Unvaccinated & Arruda Said 'Everything Is On The Table'

Either get vaccinated or risk getting sick — that's the message from Health Minister Christian Dubé as Quebec contends with an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections. On Tuesday, he asked the unvaccinated to consider the burden they're placing on the health care system.

"You should know that it's largely unvaccinated people who find themselves in intensive care and who are currently fighting for their lives," he said at a press conference.

He told unvaccinated residents that "over the course of the next few months, if the trend of the last few days continues [...] you will either get vaccinated or you will get the disease."

"And to get the disease when you are not vaccinated is to put pointless pressure on our health care system."

Dubé said that for every vaccinated person that's hospitalized because of COVID-19, three unvaccinated people are hospitalized.

And of the more than 12,000 new COVID-19 cases Quebec reported Tuesday, he said around 8,000 were unvaccinated people.

On Tuesday, Dubé announced that Quebec, in some circumstances, will begin allowing essential workers who test positive for the COVID-19 virus to continue working. The minister said the move was necessary "if we want our society to continue to function in a secure manner."

"If we had the personnel that was necessary, we would not have to introduce this measure. But at this time, we have to take very concrete, practical measures."

Officials have still not ruled out the possibility of making vaccination mandatory in the province.

"Everything is on the table," National Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda said at the Tuesday press conference. "This is not our first measure, of course," he continued. "But I'm not closing the door on anything."

The Latest Quebec Curfew Is Officially Over

But there's too much snow to go anywhere...

Rejoice! We can officially go on nightly walks again (if you can handle the cold) because Quebec's curfew was lifted as of Monday, January 17. That means no rushing to get home on time while risking fines.

During a press conference on Thursday, Premier François Legault said, "The reason we did this was to stop the exponential growth of the number of infections and then the number of hospitalizations. So given that we seem to have reached a peak, that permits us to remove the curfew."

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Quebec Bill 21 Won't Apply To Parents Who Volunteer In Schools & Wear Religious Symbols

Parents who supervise classes due to COVID-related staff shortages can wear hijabs, kippahs, crosses and turbans.

As a contingency plan to deal with a high number of staff shortages expected at schools in the coming weeks, Quebec's Ministry of Education has said parent volunteers might be asked to supervise classes if too many teachers get sick with COVID-19 and need to isolate. But, unlike teachers who are subject to Bill 21, volunteer parents can wear religious symbols in the classroom.

Quebec's controversial Bill 21, also known as Quebec's secularism law, prohibits public service workers — from police officers to teachers — from wearing hijabs, kippahs, crosses, turbans and other forms of religious symbols while at work. In fact, an elementary school teacher in Chelsea was removed from her position last month for wearing a hijab.

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On December 30, 2021, François Legault announced a handful of restrictions across Quebec, which included the closure of indoor dining and places of worship, and the postponement of a return to in-person learning at schools in the new year. In a January 13 Facebook post, Legault confirmed elementary and high school students would be returning to class as of Monday, January 17. But what about university students?

Montreal CEGEPs and universities also reverted to remote learning, however, things are looking a little different for students returning to in-person classes at post-secondary institutions. Premier Legault stated in a January 12 post that while universities could reopen their doors as of the 17th, they are being given extra leeway to determine the exact date in which in-person classes could resume.

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Quebec Parents Might Be Asked To Volunteer In Classrooms If Too Many Teachers Get COVID-19

With schools reopening on Monday, the Ministry of Education says it's expecting "a very large number" of staff absences.

Earlier this week, the provincial government confirmed that Quebec schools would officially reopen on Monday. Expecting that "a very large number of employees" will get COVID-19 and have to isolate in the coming weeks, Quebec's Ministry of Education sent a backup plan to the province's educators — and it includes calling on parent volunteers to watch classrooms.

The Ministry's "contingency plan" document states that "given the current pandemic environment [and] the widespread contagion of the Omicron variant [...] the goal is to keep students at school safely, despite the high rate of anticipated absenteeism among school staff."

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