Dubé said that the key to fighting the third wave is to "control it" as much as possible.
The health minister suggested that the third wave is being spurred on by the COVID-19 virus variants that are spreading throughout the province.
Mayor Valérie Plante echoed his declaration on Twitter and saluted the efforts of the health authorities, saying that "the situation remains in control for the moment, despite the spread of the variant."
COVID variants are spreading in the province.
The health minister was accompanied by Dr. Mylène Drouin, Montreal’s public health director.
"Evidently, we’re seeing that the situation across Quebec is being aggravated [...] by the spread of variants," she explained.
On March 26, an INSPQ report estimated that these virus variants will become the most prevalent stains over the next month in Quebec and "will soon represent more than 50% of new COVID-19 cases in Quebec."
According to the report, these variant strains are 40% more transmissible than other variants.
Variants are being concentrated in "Cote-Saint-Luc, Plamondon, Outremont and are migrating towards Ville Saint-Laurent," said Dr. Drouin.
"People need to continue to get tested and to be as collaborative as possible with contact tracing so we can have as many vaccinations as possible," concluded Dubé.
Vaccination efforts, meanwhile, will continue.
As of March 22, a number of pharmacies in Montreal began to take vaccination appointments for people over the age of 60.
Along with the many vaccination sites on the island, the past month has seen an intensification of the number of vaccine doses being administered.
Dr. Drouin said that in Montreal, "around 19% of the population, [...] almost 1 in 5 people, have received their first dose
Does this mean things are closing in Quebec?
The government has not announced any further closures or measures during this third wave, yet.
As a result of an investigation that began last March in connection with arms traffickers active in Montreal, Quebec police, which was composed of officers from the Sûreté du Québec and the SPVM, were about to seize firearms, illicit drugs and thousands of dollars in cash.
On September 15, 11 firearms searches were conducted, five in residences and six in vehicles in the Montreal, Terrebonne, Mirabel and Drummondville areas.
These searches led to the seizure of :
Six firearms including four handguns;
High capacity chargers and ammunition;
More than 30 grams of cocaine;
A few pounds of hashish;
Several tablets to be analyzed;
More than $3,000 in Canadian money.
Police also made six arrests during this operation, according to a press release.
The suspects are set to appear at the Montreal courthouse on Thursday in connection with the arms trafficking investigation.
Why You Need To Go: With incredible views, this terrasse recently opened atop the Humaniti building as part of the Humaniti Hotel. It's definitely going to be on Montrealers' must-do lists for summers to come.
"Quebec needs plasma donors," the sponsored post says. The caption reads: "Plasma donation changes the lives of thousands of Quebecers. Plan your visit to a donation centre near you."
Three months of abstinence
Beneath the non-profit organization's post are more than 400 comments. Some ask questions about the difference between plasma and blood (plasma is the liquid portion of blood), while others ask if vaccinated folks can give blood (yes, they can).
Then there are comments like this: "I would but I'm gay and you won't let me," "Then stop your prejudice of gay people" and "I'll think about it when they stop being homophobic entirely."
According to Héma-Québec, "a man whose last sexual contact with a man was 3 or more months ago can give plasma."
While this does not rule out gay donors, the three-month restriction does not apply to lesbians, men who have sex with women or women who have sex with men.
"I would totally donate blood, but I am a healthy gay man and you don't want me because of who I sleep with (even though I have been with the same partner for 21 years). Good luck with your antiquated rules, in an age where you can screen blood for HIV and other pathogens very very quickly. So there you go, do without, it's absolutely no loss on me. So now, stop advertising on my feed," wrote a Facebook user. He asked to be identified as "a member of Montreal's gay community" to protect his privacy.
"It's honestly ridiculous that they even still have this restriction. If women can sleep with men and donate no problem, then there is absolutely no reason why men who sleep with men (or, in your case, one man) should be denied. All of the donations are tested anyway," Gatineau resident Jami Tatlock replied.
On its website, Héma-Québec responds to the question, "Why must a homosexual couple in a stable relationship wait 3 months without having sex?" in order to donate blood.
"Sex can contribute to the propagation of viruses that may be transmitted to other individuals through blood transfusions. Héma-Québec uses a range of very rigorous screening tests. Despite the high performance of these tests, the risk of an infected blood donation going undetected, however slight, is not zero because of the sensitivity limitations of the tests," it says.
"For this reason, despite the use of screening tests, we exclude donors at high risk of infections that might be transmitted through blood."
Héma-Québec describes the three-month window as a period of risk or a "silent period" when people could be asymptomatic and test negative, despite being infected with HIV or Hepatitis. The three-month restriction also applies to people who have gotten piercings or tattoos.
Laurent Paul Ménard, Héma-Québec's media relations director, told MTL Blog the organization is working to make blood donation more inclusive as "scientific evidence becomes available and blood product safety is shown."
Ménard pointed out that, since 2013, Héma-Québec has submitted multiple requests asking Health Canada — which must approve all changes to donor eligibility criteria — to reduce the qualification criteria for men who have sex with men.
Between 1992 and 2013, a man who had sex with another man — even once — could never donate blood. In 2013, a man had to wait five years after having sex with another man to donate. In 2016, the deferral period was reduced to one year. And, in 2019, one year was reduced to three months.
A new behaviour-based approach
Ménard said Héma-Québec is planning to submit to Health Canada again to ask for a new approach that takes behaviour into account, based on a model recently adopted in the U.K.
Héma-Québec, he said, will ask Health Canada to allow some sexually active men who have one same-sex partner to donate without any restrictions.
In the meantime, some potential donors are left torn between doing good and standing up for what they believe is right.
"I am torn now between donating myself," Tatlock told MTL Blog. "I want to help people, but I also kind of want to hold off until they change their homophobic policies as a kind of protest."
According to Ménard, Héma-Québec will submit the request to Health Canada by the end of this year.