All of Quebec expected to leave highest COVID-19 alert level by June 7: Legault

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MONTREAL — All Quebec regions are expected to be out of the province's highest pandemic alert level by June 7, Quebec Premier François Legault said Tuesday.

Pandemic restrictions currently in place in eight Quebec regions will be relaxed on May 31, Legault told reporters in Quebec City.

Five of those regions will move completely to the orange restriction level -- which will allow in-person dining at restaurants and the reopening of gyms. In three regions, Chaudière-Appalaches, Estrie and Bas-Saint-Laurent, several municipalities will remain at the red alert level while the rest of the region moves to orange.

The province's largest city, Montreal, and its northern suburb of Laval will remain at the red alert level until at least June 7, Legault said.

Quebec's public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda said there is a "good chance" that the two regions will move to the lower restriction level on June 7, but it's not guaranteed.

Quebec will announce a plan to move forward appointments for second vaccine doses on Thursday, Health Minister Christian Dubé told reporters at the same news conference.

He said people will be able to change their appointments for a second dose on the province's vaccine-booking website. Quebec has been giving people an appointment to receive their second dose when they receive a first dose at one of the province's vaccination sites.

"Our goal, in summary, is to have everyone vaccinated by Aug. 31," Dubé said.

Almost 100,000 people aged 12 to 17 have made an appointment to be vaccinated since the booking system opened to them on Monday evening, Dubé said. Other teens were able to get vaccinated at walk-in clinics over the weekend. Dubé said last week that vaccination for the age group will be available through schools in the weeks of June 7 and June 14.

Dubé has said the province wants to make sure all kids and teens get a first shot by June 23 and are fully vaccinated around the time school resumes in the fall. Those 14 and up can consent to being vaccinated, but those who are 12 and 13 will need their parents' permission.

Quebec's public health institute said Tuesday 55.7 per cent of residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The Health Department said 50,934 doses of vaccine were administered Monday, for a total of 5,051,681.

Health officials reported 346 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and six more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, none of which occurred within the previous 24 hours. Officials said hospitalizations dropped by nine, to 415, and 101 people were in intensive care, a drop of one.

The Public Security Department said 1,058 people received tickets for violating the province's curfew between May 17 and May 23.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2021.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

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