Premier François Legault warned Quebecers on Thursday that if COVID-19 hospitalizations do not decrease, Quebec's current lockdown measures could be extended. This phase of lockdown is currently set to end on February 8.
"I want to be very clear today. Even if the number of cases is decreasing, as long as the number of hospitalizations is going to be that high, we cannot think, in the coming weeks, that we will reopen everything and that we will be able to allow contacts," said Legault in a press conference.
I know we're tired, but even if the numbers improve, we won't be able to reopen everything in the coming weeks.
Premier François Legault
He said that while we're heading in the right direction in terms of decreasing COVID-19 cases, which have been dipping below 2,000 new cases per day, we still have a "long way to go."
"The curfew is working, and that's important," he said.
But hospitalizations — totalling 1,453 patients as of January 21 — are still "much too high," he said, for the province to stop postponing non-COVID surgeries and treatments in Quebec.
Legault said the majority of current COVID-19 hospitalizations in Quebec can be found in the Greater Montreal area, roughly 1,100 of the 1,400 total.
He said for the Quebec government to be able to loosen the restrictions in place, "there must be a very significant drop in hospitalizations," without giving precise figures.
"The nurses and then the staff have been on the front lines for 11 months, and when someone in Quebec says, 'Could I cheat a little on the rules?' Well, think of [them]," he said.