No COVID deaths reported in Quebec since June 23, all province at lowest alert level

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MONTREAL — Quebec health officials haven't reported a COVID-19-related death since June 23, and as of Monday, the entire province was at the lowest, green pandemic-alert level.

In their latest report, health officials said Monday they had identified 76 new cases of COVID-19. They said a total of 178 cases had been identified across the province on Friday and Saturday; the Health Department has stopped releasing updates on the weekend.

Officials said hospitalizations dropped by 11 since their last report, to 124, and 31 people were in intensive care, a drop of nine.

Nine of Quebec's 17 regions, including the largest cities such as Montreal, Quebec City and Laval, joined the rest of the province Monday at the green alert level, under which up to 20 people can share a table on restaurant and bar patios. Up to 20 people can also gather inside private homes, and capacity for weddings and funerals was increased to 250 people — but receptions were capped at 25 people indoors and 50 outside.

Officials said 73,754 doses of vaccine were administered Sunday. According to Quebec's public health institute, 81 per cent of residents 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 26.3 per cent of all residents are considered fully vaccinated.

The province is continuing to encourage younger people to get vaccinated. In a letter sent to students aged 12 to 17 and their parents Monday, Montreal public health said "we urge students who still have not received their first dose of vaccine to get vaccinated as soon as possible."

The agency said if the percentage of fully vaccinated students is less than 75 per cent, students will have to continue wearing masks and isolating if they come into contact with someone who tests positive for the disease.

As of Sunday, 69.9 per cent of Quebecers aged 12 to 17 had received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. In Montreal, however, 58 per cent of residents 12 to 17 had received at least one dose — the second-lowest rate in the province. Only the northern region of Nunavik — where youth vaccination began later than in the rest of the province — has a lower rate, at 16.3 per cent.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said Monday on Twitter about 127,000 more people aged 18 to 39 need to get vaccinated for the government to reach its target of vaccinating 75 of that age group. A chart included in Dubé's post showed that the 18-to-24 and 25-to-29 age brackets have the lowest vaccination rates of any age group: 67 per cent of people in those two cohorts have received their first dose, or have appointments to do so.

The Health Department said it expects to receive 547,560 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 1,744,820 doses of Moderna and 120,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

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