The province reported over 3,500 new cases again.
Though the numbers are down a bit from yesterday, Quebec's daily COVID-19 case count is still soaring. On Saturday, the province reported its second-highest number of new cases since the start of the pandemic while hospitalizations saw their largest spike in almost a year.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services reported 3,631 new cases on December 18. It also recorded 347 hospitalizations, up 35 since the day prior — the biggest daily increase since January 11, 2021, when hospitalizations went up by 61. Seventy-four of those patients were in the ICU.
#COVID19 - En date du 17 d\u00e9cembre, voici la situation au Qu\u00e9bec: http://bit.ly/3u2lZJO\u00a0pic.twitter.com/pM2INmDC2r— Sant\u00e9 Qu\u00e9bec (@Sant\u00e9 Qu\u00e9bec) 1639843209
According to l’Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), the Omicron variant is thought to be between 2.2 and 3.2 times more transmissible than the Delta variant. And, as of Wednesday, around 20% of Quebec's COVID-19 cases were found to be linked to Omicron.
INSPQ projections from December 16 reveal the grim possibility that case counts could literally fly off the charts in the coming months — beyond 4,000 new cases per day — before descending after February.
However, INSPQ notes that more Omicron cases won't necessarily mean more hospitalizations.
"The rise in cases could also translate into a significant rise in hospitalizations, but the amplitude of that rise is uncertain and depends on the severity of Omicron," says INSPQ.
Earlier this week, in response to rising cases and the spread of Omicron, Premier François Legault announced that Quebec would be cancelling expanded holiday gatherings, reducing the capacity of businesses to 50% and banning dancing, karaoke and office parties.
The Montreal Canadiens didn't allow fans at the Bell Centre for their game on Thursday night and postponed a home game against the Boston Bruins scheduled for Saturday.
On Saturday morning, Legault took to Facebook to reflect on the current situation.
"It doesn't matter if I had to backtrack on what I had said a few days earlier, even if I had to disappoint you. What we all realized this week [...] is that the Omicron variant is progressing at a lightning speed. It's hard to imagine. We haven't seen anything this overwhelming since the pandemic began," he wrote.
"Reduce our contacts, go for a 3rd dose, do everything we can to relieve our caregivers and take care of each other. It would be a nice collective Christmas present to ourselves."
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.