Quebec ended 2020 and ushered in the new year by logging more than 7,600 new COVID-19 cases over a three-day period, prompting the province’s health minister to sound the alarm about the toll soaring infection and hospitalization rates are taking on the health-care system.
The province, which had not reported new cases or deaths linked to the novel coronavirus since Dec. 31, recorded 7,663 cases in total from that date until Jan. 2. Data released Sunday showed 2,869 of the new cases were recorded on Saturday, 1,986 on New Year’s Day and 2,808 on Thursday.
Health Minister Christian Dubé tweeted Sunday that infections and hospitalizations rates have continued to mount despite COVID-19 restrictions imposed over the holiday period, adding the numbers illustrate the prevalence of community transmission.
“It has a major impact on our health-care network and our personnel,” he wrote in a tweet.
Quebec ordered the closure of businesses deemed non-essential across the province from Dec. 25 until at least Jan. 11 in an effort to stem the spread of the virus and reduce the pressure on hospitals.
Authorities also reported 121 additional deaths linked to the virus over the three-day period since Thursday, 11 of which occurred in the past 24 hours.
The province has now recorded 210,304 total cases and 8,347 deaths since the pandemic began.
Health officials said 1,225 people were hospitalized across the province on Saturday, an increase of 150 compared to the previous day. Of those in hospital, 179 people were in intensive care.
They said Quebec has administered 28,762 COVID-19 vaccines since the inoculations began in mid-December, including 798 doses Saturday.