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Quebec's COVID-19 Case Numbers Just Rocketed Up — But It's Not All Doom And Gloom

The province reported more than 1,800 cases on Thursday.

Deputy Editor
Quebec's COVID-19 Case Numbers Just Rocketed Up — But It's Not All Doom And Gloom

Quebec reported 1,807 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest count in ages and a big jump from the Wednesday report's 1,367. And all this just a few days after the Quebec government announced it's relaxing holiday gathering rules. Yikes?

In some ways, big yikes. The daily new case count last exceeded 1,800 on April 9, 2021, according to Quebec Health Ministry data. Before that, it was during the pandemic’s second wave in January, when new cases were beginning to fall after peaking above 2,800 per day.

If you want to worry more about case numbers, it’s also worth noting that the province reported over 1,000 daily cases for seven days straight, from November 30 to December 6 — also the first time that has happened since April.

There is a bright side. First, experts expected case numbers to rise as the weather got colder, so this isn’t a complete shock.

But the best cause for optimism is around hospitalizations — as the holidays approach, those numbers are what Legault has said officials are watching most closely.

Although hospitalizations have climbed from fewer than 60 in the summer to 255 on December 8, the rise has been slow and unsteady.

There are fewer people in hospitals these days on average than there were in September and October, when daily bed occupancy often crossed the 300 mark — even though new cases were significantly lower then than they are now.

Also, when we look at April, when Quebec last crossed 1,800 new cases in one day, hospitalizations were more than double what they are now. Last January, when daily new cases were consistently above 1,000, there were also well over 1,000 people in hospital on any given day.

The major difference between now and then, of course, is that Quebec's vaccination campaign had barely begun in January and was still in its early stages in April.

As of December 8, provincial data says that incidences of infection, averaged over the previous 28 days, are about five times higher for unvaccinated people compared to those who have received two doses. Unvaccinated people make up the majority of positive cases these days.

But with all the noise around the Omicron variant, it's important to note that there's no proof that the recent uptick in case numbers is due to the emergence of the new variant. Keep in mind that there are five main variants of concern circulating in Canada, according to the country's public health authority: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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