Quebec is reporting 889 new COVID-19 cases on Monday — the lowest daily case count since March 29 — as the province announced it is speeding up its vaccination rollout.
Officials announced it advanced the day people with disabilities can begin booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments and expanded a program in which private companies operate mass vaccination sites at their workplaces.
The health department said people with physical or intellectual disabilities as well as those on the autism spectrum will be able to make appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday. The government had planned to expand access to that group on Wednesday but said the vaccination rollout is moving faster than expected.
The government also said it will expand a program in which large businesses turn their workplaces into mass vaccination sites. The program began Monday with the first shots administered at the Montreal headquarters of flight simulation company CAE.
Under the program, participating businesses will vaccinate their employees and their families, and eventually the general public. CAE, which had received 250 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, said Monday it has the capacity to vaccinate up to 1,000 people a day, seven days a week.
“We are enthusiastic about the idea of obtaining more doses quickly,” CAE spokeswoman Hélène V. Gagnon said in an email.
The health department said Monday morning it will add 10 more companies to the program, bringing the total number of participating businesses to 23, about a dozen of which are to begin vaccinations next week.
Quebec hopes to vaccinate more than 500,000 people at the corporate sites between May and August.
Public health says 41,731 doses of the vaccine were administered on Sunday, and 925 were added to the toll from before April 25, for a total of 2,871,140 since the beginning of the vaccination rollout in the province.
At least one dose of the vaccine has been given to around 33 per cent of the Quebec’s population, according to officials.
Province records 8 more deaths, hospitalizations go up
Health officials say hospitalizations increased by 10 to 664 on Monday, and 167 people are in intensive care — an increase of two from Sunday.
Eight more coronavirus-related deaths were reported. Authorities say of the eight deaths, one happened in the last 24 hours. Quebec’s death toll now stands at 10,886.
On Sunday, Health Minister Christian Dubé said the situation remains fragile but there’s hope on the horizon — reminding Quebecers that the province will open up vaccines to the general population at the end of May.
He encouraged citizens to keep up protective efforts in the coming weeks. Earlier this weekend Dubé reminded Quebecers that 60 per cent of new infections are reported in people under 40.
“Young adults are sick for longer and wait longer before going to hospital,” he warned. “No one is safe from the virus and its variants.”
Quebec has reported more than 345,697 infections since the pandemic hit the province. At least 324,441 cases have recovered.
–with files from the Canadian Press