Quebec is reporting just under 3,000 patients in hospital with COVID-19 and 45 more deaths attributed to the virus.
Health officials say 443 new patients with COVID-19 were admitted in the past day, while 326 were discharged for an increase of 117 over the previous day. Of the 2,994 patients in hospital, 272 are being treated in intensive care, the province reported on Thursday.
The latest Health Ministry data shows that people who are not vaccinated are 6.9 times more at risk of being hospitalized than someone who has been vaccinated with two doses, and 13.7 times more at risk of ending up in intensive care.
On Tuesday, Quebec Premier François Legault said 50 per cent of COVID-19 patients in intensive care were unvaccinated.
The premier than announced those who refused to get vaccinated would be facing a financial penalty in the form of a “significant health contribution.”
He went on to say the unvaccinated who represent only 10 per cent of the population were placing an unfair burden on the health-care network.
The province’s hospital’s are under strain forcing the delay of surgeries and adding to the backlog.
However, Quebec’s public health institute said Thursday that the number of COVID-19 infections and new hospitalizations linked to the current wave of the pandemic may have peaked in the greater Montreal area.
The Institut national de santé publique du Québec said in a report that half its simulations project that the number of new infections in the Montreal region has already peaked. It also said half its simulations project that the number of hospitalizations linked to those infections will peak in Montreal by Monday. The other simulations suggest peaks will be reached in the coming days or weeks.
“Given the very high community transmission, the situation remains fragile, even if a slowdown in the increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations may occur in the near future,” Marc Brisson, who heads the mathematical modelling team at Université Laval that produced the projections, said in a news release.
The premier, backed by health authorities, maintains that vaccination is key to emerging from the pandemic.
In the last 24 hours, 111,395 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province.
As of Thursday, Quebecers aged 25 are eligible for a third dose booster shot. As of Friday, eligibility will be expanded to all adults.
Quebec reported 8,793 infections, bringing the caseload since the start of the pandemic to 775,720. Meanwhile, 657,224 have recovered for a total of 97,623 active cases.
The ministry has warned however that the number of cases listed is not an accurate representation of the situation since access to screening centres is limited to priority groups such as health-care workers.
Quebec’s death toll now stands at 12,125.
— With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise and The Canadian Press’ Jacob SerebrinView link »