Experts urge prudence after data shows variants will be dominant in Quebec by April

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MONTREAL — Quebec's government-mandated public health institute says more transmissible novel coronavirus variants will represent the majority of infections in the province by the first week of April.

Mathieu Maheu-Giroux with the Institut national de sante publique du Quebec told a virtual news conference today recent modelling indicates the B.1.1.7 and B. 1.351 variants will soon compose more than 50 per cent new COVID-19 infections in Quebec.

He says the models are based on the evidence that certain variants are about 40 per cent more transmissible compared to the strain originally dominant in the province.

The news comes as gyms reopened today in red zones across the province, including Montreal, and as places of worship in those areas are allowed once again to welcome up to 250 people indoors.

Quebec is reporting 950 new COVID-19 cases today and seven more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one in the past 24 hours. Health authorities say hospitalizations dropped by 15, to 481, and 115 people were in intensive care, a drop of two.

The province says it administered 54,951 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, for a total of 1,121,958 does since the campaign began.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press