COVID-19 cases continued to soar over the weekend, with 896 new cases in Quebec on Sunday and 698 on Saturday, bringing the province’s total to 71,901.
The rising number of infections underlines the need for people to forgo social gatherings, said Dr. Jay Kaufman, an epidemiologist at McGill University.
Get-togethers with friends and family functions are likely the main cause of the recent uptick in the spread of the virus, which is seeing its highest numbers since cases peaked in April and May, he said.
“This means that it is largely up to individuals to ramp up their precautions and vigilance,” Kaufman warned.
On Friday, Health Minister Christian Dubé asked Quebecers to avoid all social contacts for the next 28 days in an effort to break the second wave of COVID-19.
“It is for a month — this is not permanent,” Dubé said at a press conference. “We’re asking you for a month of effort to break the second wave.”
With cases of COVID-19 surging, Viva Singer said there was no question of gathering with 14 members of her family to celebrate Yom Kippur on Sunday.
“With cases close to 900, it just didn’t seem prudent,” Singer said as she stopped to chat with a friend on Sherbrooke St. in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
Singer said she is didn’t think it would be safe for her 83-year-old mother to be exposed to so many people and feared that her mother and other seniors will be isolated during the long winter if Quebecers don’t follow the advice of public health officials.
“My mother is an active senior and she isn’t going to Florida this year,” Singer said. “Florida is a scary place right now.”
Kaufman said the reason it is important to avoid get-togethers is that indoor events are the most impactful in terms of spreading the virus. The super spreader karaoke outbreak in Quebec City in August is an example, he noted.