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Quebec reports 189 new COVID-19 cases, 8 more deaths

People wait in line for a COVID-19 Pfizer vaccination shot in Montreal, Saturday, June 5, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Quebec is reporting 189 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday and eight more virus-related deaths.

The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations dropped by six from Wednesday to 251. Of those, 64 patients are in the intensive care unit, an increase of four from the day before.

Health officials say only one of the eight deaths was recorded in the last 24 hours. The death toll in the province now stands at 11,166.

Read more: No more orange or red zones in Quebec starting June 14

Quebec has reported more than 372,476 COVID-19 infections since the pandemic hit the province. At least 359,104 individuals have recovered.

The province saw 84,936 doses of the vaccine administered on Wednesday and 2,777 doses were added to the toll from before June 9.

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The total number of shots given since the start of the province’s immunization program in December 2020 is over 6.3 million.

Quebec Premier François Legault admitted on Thursday his government has had trouble implementing its plan to accelerate the timeline for second COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Quebec had said people could rebook their vaccination appointments, after the government shortened the interval between first and second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

But on Monday, Health Minister Christian Dubé said only people who had received the Pfizer vaccine would be able to reschedule their appointments because of limited supplies of the Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

Dubé said Thursday the government is still working on glitches to clear up second-dose booking.

Dubé also presented his government’s plan to catch up on surgeries that have been delayed because of the pandemic.

He has said he wants to wait until the end of August to start reducing the backlog in order to give health-care workers a summer break.

About 150,000 surgeries have been delayed in Quebec, and the health minister said he wants to reduce the total number of patients waiting for their surgery from 150,000 to 100,000 by March 2023.

Legault says he’s confident Quebec Ontario border will reopen in ‘next few days’

The border between Quebec and Ontario, closed since April to reduce COVID-19 transmission, will likely reopen within days, Legault said Thursday.

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“We are in discussion with the Ontario government, and I am confident that in the next few days we will be able to open the borders,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City.

The Ontario government had recently extended its ban on non-essential travel from Quebec and Manitoba until at least June 16.

As for the border between Canada and the United States, Legault said discussions with the federal government are ongoing.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Wednesday that fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents who test negative for COVID-19 will likely soon be exempt from two weeks of quarantine on return to Canada.

–With files from the Canadian Press

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