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Quebec's 6th Wave Of COVID-19 Has Begun, Says Public Health Institute

Hospitalizations are expected to rise in the coming days.

MTL Blog, Staff Writer
Two people walk on a Montreal sidewalk near a sign on a store window asking customers to wear a mask.

Two people walk on a Montreal sidewalk near a sign on a store window asking customers to wear a mask.

Quebec has officially entered a sixth wave of COVID-19, just two months after a fifth wave struck the province.

Epidemiologist Dr. Gaston De Serres with the Institut national de santé publique du Québec confirmed the update this afternoon.

Cases of the highly contagious Omicron BA.2 variant of COVID-19 have been on the rise in recent weeks. Today Public Health reported 3,067 new infections, 148 hospitalizations, and a 17.1% positivity rate. The INSPQ is currently monitoring 479 active outbreaks and has noted that numbers may be higher than recorded due to limited access to PCR tests.

Medical experts were warning that Quebec was already in a sixth wave as of last week, but Interim Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau declined to confirm during a statement on Sunday.

He said, however, that remaining mask mandates were still on track to be lifted by mid-April and it was up to Quebecers to take precautions to protect themselves and others.

"A measure that would help is increasing accessibility of high-quality masks — wearing those in crowded indoor settings and public transportation should be normalized, particularly when we are going through a wave," said epidemiologist Prativa Baral, an epidemiologist and doctoral student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

"Failing to mention the airborne method of transmission for this virus and the appropriate ways of protection is misinformation. Not mentioning the risk of long COVID due to an infection is normalizing these waves of infection. Asking individuals, especially those at highest risk, to 'be careful' is just not an appropriate strategy," she said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Social Services launched a fourth booster shot campaign on March 29 in CHSLDs and private care homes to protect more vulnerable residents from Omicron BA.2.

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