Premier Francois Legault is asking police officers to hand out more fines to people who defy COVID-19 rules in Quebec.
He made the announcement at a news conference on Wednesday, when the province’s new COVID-19 cases pushed the weekly average higher up as 1,728 more people tested positive for the disease in 24 hours.
That number is 99 more than the 1,629 seven-day average, and the total number of positive cases in Quebec since the start of the pandemic is now 156,468.
“I have asked police officers and the health and safety commission to give more fines and more tickets,” Legault said. “We cannot allow a minority of people to put the majority at risk.”
Those fines can go up to $6,000, he said.
“We still have difficult weeks ahead of us.”
An alert will go out Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. reminding Quebecers of public health guidelines surrounding COVID-19, Legault added.
The province is also mulling over the possibility of closing stores for a few weeks in December and January if hospitalizations continue to rise in Quebec.
“But I’d like to repeat it; people who go into stores and who respect the guidelines… Well then there’s no risk of transmitting the virus,” Legault said.
Asked whether the decisions he’s had to make lately have been the hardest part of his career, Legault said no.
“The difficult moment was in March when we didn’t know if there was going to be an apocaylpse,” he said.
Legault also mentioned that the province is expecting to receive 55,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 4.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
The Quebec Institute of Public Health reports that there are 15,426 active cases in the province as of Wednesday, and that 1,119 people have recovered from the disease. The total number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 is now 133,692, or 85 per cent of the total positive cases.
In addition, the province reported 37 more deaths due to the disease. Of these, seven deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, 24 occurred between Dec. 2 and Dec. 7, five occurred before Dec. 2, and one person died at an unknown date.
The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the province is now 7,349 after Quebec officials removed one death from the total since an investigation found that it was not attributable to COVID-19.