COVID-19: Quebec confirms 5 infections linked to Omicron variant, 7 cases under investigation

Click to play video: 'Quebec to allow larger holiday gatherings and more eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine boosters'
Quebec to allow larger holiday gatherings and more eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine boosters
Quebec will allow a maximum of 20 people to gather for Christmas celebrations starting December 23rd. The province has no plans to loosen anymore sanitary measures at this time but it is allowing a larger number of people to access a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Raquel Fletcher reports. – Dec 7, 2021

Cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in Quebec, with 1,367 new infections reported on Wednesday.

Health officials also confirmed an additional four cases of the Omicron variant had been detected among travellers, adding to a previous case reported on Nov. 29.

Meanwhile, another seven cases are under investigation.

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In a news release earlier this week, the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec said other cases of COVID-19 in travellers, as well as their contacts, are being investigated to determine whether they are linked to the new variant.

The institute said it will continue to monitor the situation and adjust its screening for the variant in coming weeks.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 update'
COVID-19 update

On Tuesday, Health Minister Christian Dubé confirmed the new variant was not yet spreading in the community and that travellers were being monitored.

Since the start of the health crisis, the province has recorded 458,426 infections, 435,690 recoveries and 11,596 deaths linked to the virus, including two in the last day.

The number of active cases is 11,140 with the seven-day daily average at 1,294.

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Read more: COVID-19: Quebec to loosen private gathering rules for vaccinated people 2 days before Christmas

Pandemic-related hospitalizations increased by seven over the previous day with 32 new patients admitted and 25 discharged. Of the 242 patients, 59 are in intensive care.

Health Ministry data published on Wednesday shows people who are unvaccinated are 3.2 times more likely to become infected with the virus and 15.9 times at greater risk of being hospitalized than people who are fully vaccinated.

To date, 82,4 per cent of the population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more: Booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine neutralizes Omicron variant, company says

Third dose booster shots are now being offered to a wider segment of the population, including health workers, people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, and those living in isolated or remote communities, providing it’s been six month since they received their last dose.

Previously third doses of COVID-19 vaccines were only being offered to people 70 and over, those with weakened immune systems and people who received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Quebecers aged 60 and will become eligible for a third dose beginning in January.

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On Tuesday, Quebec announced a loosening of restrictions for private gatherings. As of Dec. 23, get togethers of up to 20 vaccinated people will be allowed.

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