Quebec records 551 new COVID-19 cases in lowest daily tally since September 2020

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Montreal’s first drive-thru vaccination clinic opens at Trudeau airport' COVID-19: Montreal’s first drive-thru vaccination clinic opens at Trudeau airport
Montrealers can now get vaccinated against COVID-19 from the comfort of their own car. Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines has more from the city's first drive-thru clinic – May 17, 2021

Quebec is reporting 551 new COVID-19 cases Monday in what marks the lowest number of new daily infections in the province since last September.

Authorities also recorded eight more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Two of those fatalities occurred in the past 24 hours, while the six other deaths took place last week.

“The indicators are on the downturn and the vaccination centres are in full swing everywhere in Quebec,” Health Minister Dubé wrote on Twitter, adding that more appointment slots will be available this week.

The vaccination campaign saw another 73,467 shots administered, for more than 4.3 million to date. As of Monday, about 49 per cent of the population has received a first dose.

The province, which has opened appointments to all adults, is also expecting another 1.2 million doses of the vaccine to arrive by the end of this week.

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Dubé said on Sunday the province was 85,000 vaccine appointments shy of ensuring that 75 per cent of adults had received at least one dose of vaccine or had booked an appointment to get one.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Quebec premier hints at pandemic reopening plan

The number of pandemic-related hospitalizations dropped by seven to 501. This includes 116 patients in intensive care, a decrease of three.

Authorities say 21,925 tests were given Saturday. It is the latest day for which screening information is available.

Meanwhile, Quebec’s Public security Ministry says 1,146 fines were given out across the province from May 10 to 16 for alleged curfew violations. Last week, police also issued 14 tickets related to quarantine measures after carrying out 457 visits to homes.

Since the pandemic started, the province has recorded a total of 363,847 cases. Recoveries, meanwhile, stand at 345,794.

The health crisis has killed 11,042 Quebecers to date. The death toll remains the highest in Canada.

Drive-thru vaccinations underway

Montrealers are also rolling up their sleeves as the province’s first drive-thru mass vaccination site opened to the public Monday.

The clinic, located in the parking lot of the Trudeau International Airport, is expected to administered 360 doses on the first day before ramping up operations.

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Holly McCullough was one of the first people to pass through one of six tent stations on site.

“It’s really smooth,” she said. “They kind of walk you through everything.”

READ MORE: Quebec unveils drive-thru vaccination site at Montreal airport

The initiative allows households to drive up together and get their vaccination at the same time. The process also eliminates standing and waiting alongside others.

“I think general people will prefer this if they are able to get one,” Sheriane Cowie told Global News from her car.

By the end of the week, officials say the site will be able to carry out around 4,000 shots per day. Bookings must be made online for now, but the West Island health authority has plans to allow “walk-ins” to drive up to the clinic starting Thursday.

— With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines and The Canadian Press

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