Quebec is reporting 1,168 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the province clocks in over 1,000 cases for the seventh consecutive day.
Authorities say four more virus related deaths were added to the toll, including one in the last 24 hours. Hospitalizations rose by 11 to 514, and 121 people are in intensive care, a decrease of two.
The province says it administered 39,816 doses of the vaccine on Monday, for a total of 1,592,197. Officials say over 18.3 per cent of the population has so far received at least one dose.
Quebec also announced it lowered the age of eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine from 65 to 60 in the Montérégie region south of Montreal and the Outaouais region in western Quebec.
This comes as Quebec’s health minister Christian Dubé is asking regional authorities to act quickly to shut down operations that aren’t respecting COVID-19 health rules.
Dubé says the spread of more contagious variants justifies acting when there’s good reason to believe the rules aren’t being followed.
In a letter sent to regional health directors on Monday, Dubé says the current powers granted under the province’s Public Health Act stipulate it’s not necessary to wait until an investigation is complete before closing a location.
The directives come as five municipalities in the Chaudière-Appalaches region south of Quebec City entered a lockdown Monday night after reporting sharp rises in infections. Residents in those places have to abide by an 8 p.m. curfew and non-essential businesses and schools were ordered to close until at least next week.
Those five municipalities are Beauce-Sartigan, Bellechasse, Les Etchemins, Nouvelle-Beauce and Robert-Cliche — all in the Chaudière-Appalaches region.
Those five areas joined three other cities already in lockdown: Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau.
The curfew in Montreal currently stands at 9:30 p.m.
Quebec has reported a total of 318,532 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 10,701 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus. Over 297,380 infected people have recovered.
–with files from the Canadian Press