Quebec Premier François Legault says while daily COVID-19 indicators show the situation is improving in the province, the number of hospitalizations remains a concern as the government looks to ease restrictions in some areas.
As of Thursday, 1,264 patients required hospital care related to the virus, a number Legault said is too high.
“That’s too much,” he said, adding that surgeries and other treatments continue to be delayed in several hospitals contributing to a growing backlog.
“We have to think about those who are waiting for surgery.”
Legault warned that relief from the latest lockdown measures will be minimal next month.
“Next week we’ll announce a lifting of certain measures,” he said. “But we have to be realistic, most of the measures will continue.”
Another concern, is the upcoming spring break. Last year, Quebec saw a spike in cases following the break, a situation it hopes to avoid this year.
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Legault reiterated his demand for the federal government to take action. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged Canadians not to travel and has said the government is looking at imposing stricter measures.
“Quebec can not act alone to impose quarantine on travellers,” Legault said. “It’s urgent that we either ban non-essential travel or impose quarantine in hotels for travellers.”
The premier also announced that March 11 will be a day set aside to commemorate the lives of Quebecers that have been lost to COVID-19.
“We must never forget that behind the numbers there are people and families,” he said. “There’s a good reason to continue all our efforts.”
To date, the health crisis has claimed the lives of 9,667 Quebecers.
— With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise