Quebec’s 28-day challenge is becoming a 56-day one.
On Monday, Premier Francois Legault announced the red zone restrictions that went into effect on Sept. 28 will be extended until Nov. 23.
Legault noted that while cases of COVID-19 have plateaued at around between 800 to 1,000 new cases per day, the province is also seeing an average of roughly 10 new deaths per day.
“We have to lower that number, how many new cases we have, and that’s why we’re going to have to make efforts for another four weeks,” he said.
“We have quite a challenge ahead of us. We cannot continue having 800 to 1,000 new cases per day.”
Aside from the deaths that case-load inevitably brings, “there are also consequences on the health network, certain businesses and classrooms in certain schools,” he said.
The premier took pains to praise the efforts Quebecers have made in October, noting that, per capita, the province has seen smaller spikes than other places.
He pointed specifically to France, which has announced 52,000 new cases on Sunday, saying the equivalent in Quebec would be 6,000 new cases in a day.
“We all have to realize we can’t continue having 10 new deaths every day,” he said. “We have to make efforts. Tell yourself, if the efforts you personally make manage to reduce that death toll by one, it will have been worth it.”
He added that the government debated on whether the extension would be four weeks or only two and promised that if, in 14 days, daily new cases dropped to an average of 500 and the province saw a reduction in outbreaks and hospitalizations, several of the restrictions in place would be reconsidered.
“After discussing with public health, we think it’s reasonable in 28 days to see a reduction,” he said. “In the first 28 days, we stabilized, and we think it will take another 28 days to see a reduction.”
The renewed restrictions came on the same day that Quebec announced 808 new cases, which is the lowest number in the last week. However, infectious disease specialist Dr. Matthew Oughton told CTV that it’s crucial to look at week-long trends rather than day-to-day trends.
Oughton said earlier Monday that the province, at this point, should be very careful about lifting restrictions.
NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR GRADE 9
Legault also announced an extension of a previous measure announced to reduce transmission in schools.
Last month, students in grades 10 and 11 began going to class in-person every second day, while doing online learning on the other days. Legault said that measure would be extended to students in Grade 9.
“I’m told when you look at the number of cases and the transmission capacity, those who transmit more or less, there is a difference between secondary two and three,” he said. “That’s a public health recommendation.”