While it's no big secret that COVID-19 got really bad in Quebec in 2020, a stunning graph put together by the Institut de la Statistique du Québec shows just how bad the situation was in the first few months of the pandemic.
In a visual representation, the Institut shows the number of Quebec deaths per week from 2010 to 2021. The graph shows a staggering spike between April and June 2020.
At the graph's highest point, just under 2,100 deaths, falls at the end of April 2020, when the province was still in the midst of its first lockdown.
Data from the Institut national de santé publique (INSPQ) shows a peak of 891 deaths due to COVID-19 reported in the week of April 26, 2020.
Quebec reported the most COVID-19 deaths, 152, on April 29, 2020.
The INSPQ also shows that seniors aged 70 and above accounted for 91.6% of COVID-19 deaths during the first wave of infections, from February to July 2020.
The disastrous situation in residential care facilities and CHSLDs has been widely reported. Currently, the government is embroiled in a coroner's investigation into what went wrong in residential care. The CAQ is reportedly pushing back against calls for a public investigation, however.
For 50 to 69-year-olds, deaths also spiked slightly from April to June 2020.
It's another sad day in Habs land, folks. The Montreal Canadiens have announced that two players, forward Brendan Gallagher and defenceman Sami Niku, have been placed under the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.
According to a statement posted on Instagram, "both players are being monitored closely by team doctors and following the guidelines and protocols set by the NHL."
As per the NHL's COVID-19 protocol for players and staff, the two Habs players will be "be removed immediately and shall be directed to isolate and to refrain from contact with other individuals until the confirmation of their COVID-19 positive/negative status is established."
As of the time of writing, the players' status is unconfirmed.
The NHL has established extensive guidelines for managing COVID-19 in the league and has been quick to act when potential cases arise. The NHL has also established a protocol for unvaccinated players, according to Sportsnet.
In the Canadiens, there have been a few confirmed contacts with the COVID-19 virus since the pandemic began but overall, no player on the team has missed significant time due to the disease. The only one to miss a large chunk of time was head coach Dominique Ducharme, who was in isolation for part of the Habs' most recent playoff run.
Former General Manager Marc Bergevin also tested positive for COVID-19 in November and spent some time away from the team.
It has been a rough week for the Canadiens. Though in positive news, Carey Price is back on the ice at training, the team underwent a major shakeup by relieving Bergevin and two other employees. At least one person has said they're interested in the GM role, but the team hasn't given updates on its search for a new leader.
Quebec's most famous public health official, Dr. Horacio Arruda, has officially reached new levels of fame. Eagle-eyed viewers watching a behind-the-scenes video about the new Bethesda Softworks game Starfield might've noticed a familiar bespectacled figure hidden in some concept art.
Reddit user u/earknee11 made the discovery. Their post about the public health director's appearance within a small screen in the game preview has received hundreds of upvotes.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, Dr. Arruda's apparent cameo in the Starfield concept art is certainly a cheeky homage to the province that Bethesda Game Studios — in part — calls home. It also has locations in Texas and Maryland.
Coming to Quebecers live from a youth-filled vaccination clinic in Chaudière-Appalaches, Premier Legault reiterated that, as long as the COVID-19 situation allows for it, the government wants to loosen gathering rules so that 20 to 25 people are allowed in our homes for the holidays.
Le premier ministre r\u00e9pond aux questions des journalistes.\n \nSuivez notre m\u00eal\u00e9e de presse en direct https://twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1vAxRkjLWPzKl\u00a0\u2026
"We know that there are many families — when we look at the brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces — who exceed the 10 people. [...] So we hope to be able, for Christmas, for New Year's, to have families a little enlarged to 20, 25 people," he said. "Right now, it's going very well on the hospitalization side."
While Legault didn't set anything in stone, he did say the success of Quebec's youth vaccination campaign is increasing our chances to host more loved ones over the holidays. He noted that 240,000 young people aged 11 to 15 — 37% — have already booked an appointment or gotten a vaccine dose, which he called "a good start."
"By adding these 240,000 children who will be vaccinated, it will help to have coverage in our society. It will help us to give ourselves the chance that during the holiday season, we will be able to increase to 20, 25 the number of people in our homes," he said.
For now, Legault said the government and public health are "following the situation closely from day to day." He said Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's director of public health, is set to make an official recommendation about holiday gatherings next week.
Legault added that there are no plans to add restrictions if there's a significant case increase. He said it's important to look at hospitalizations, which are currently "under control."
"I repeat to all Quebecers, be careful between now and Christmas so that we can give ourselves the maximum chance to have reasonably-sized parties during the holiday season," Legault said.