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Quebec Interim National Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau speaks at a press conference.

Quebec Interim National Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau speaks at a press conference.

Interim National Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau announced at a Thursday press conference that the Quebec COVID-19 mask mandate will stay in place until mid-May.

The mandate was originally supposed to end everywhere except public transit in mid-April. In light of the sixth wave of COVID-19 infections spurred by the BA.2 variant, Boileau pushed that deadline to the end of April. Now he's pushing it two weeks further.

The public health director said his team would continue to evaluate the situation and make adjustments if possible.

He added in a response to a journalist's question that he has "no intention of adding more measures, [such as] any closures, to prevent the evolution of the situation."

Quebec has seen an uptick in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, but Boileau said Thursday that the "relatively good news" is that "transmission of the virus could have started to slow. We may have even already reached a certain plateau" in the number of new infections.

New hospitalizations appear to have slowed, as well, he said.

The long weekend, when many families gathered to celebrate a holiday, is preventing officials from getting a clear picture of the trajectory of the current wave, however.

Quebec reported a total of 2,405 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 on Thursday.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

    Thomas MacDonald
    Senior Editor
    Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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