Just a week after telling Quebecers it was too early to say if we had arrived in a seventh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial health authorities said Quebec is in a second wave and there are no plans to enact any sanitary health measures at this time.
In their first joint press conference in months, provincial health minister Christian Dube and Quebec Public Health Institute head Dr. Luc Boileau told reporters there were no plans to enact any more sanitary restrictions, but that we were indeed in a seventh wave of the virus.
"For me, it's a seventh wave," Boileau said. "It's a surge that's taking the shape of a wave," admitting his claim has yet to be confirmed by Quebec's public health institute (INSPQ).
The number of COVID-19 patients in Quebec hospitals has grown more by more than 50 percent, from 1,007 to 1,534 in the last month.
It represents the first such wave since the province removed all sanitary heath restrictions – including the requirement of masks on public transit.
Despite the massive surge in hospitalizations, the province has no plans to bring back any restrictions on daily life in the province.
“There's no specific announcement [today]. I don't want anyone to get worried," said Health Minister Christian Dubé at a news conference last Thursday. "We're no longer at the point of imposing things when people are well aware of the risks. It's just a question of reminding them."
Both stressed that Quebecers who become infected with the virus must obey isolation requirements and mask up in public in the five days after their isolation ended – and it’s important that Quebecers avoid restaurants, bars and outdoor summer festivals in that time.
Which, clearly, they haven’t been, Boileau intimated.
"Clearly, there are a lot of people that are not respecting the isolation period," said Boileau.
Dube echoed the sentiment.
“The situation is under control, but we have to remain careful," Dube added.
The pair are also once again asking Quebecers in at-risk populations, including people over the age of 60, to get their a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose if it's been at least three months since their third shot. So far, only 55 per cent of eligible Quebecers have received their third dose, according to public health data.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase