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Quebec workers board says five COVID-19 deaths in 2021 linked to workplaces

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Quebec immunocompromised patients not ready to drop masks' COVID-19: Quebec immunocompromised patients not ready to drop masks
WATCH: Quebec is set to become the last province in Canada to remove its COVID-19 mask mandate on May 14. Though most Canadians have not been subject to mandatory masking for months now, some in Quebec still feel it's far too soon. Global’s Dan Spector reports. – May 5, 2022

Five Quebec workers died of COVID-19 infections that were acquired on the job in 2021, according to the province’s workers compensation board.

The board, called Commission des normes de l’équité de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), said it has accepted a total of 15 claims made by the estates of people who died from workplace-acquired COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic, spokesman Antoine Leclerc-Loiselle said in an email. Another three deaths remain under investigation, he added.

In a separate study, Montreal’s health department said that during the first three waves of the pandemic, workers in the city’s manufacturing sector and in its transport and warehousing sector were more likely to catch COVID-19 at work compared with employees in other industries.

The study, released Thursday, found that those two sectors accounted for 37 per cent of workplace outbreaks in the city between March 2020 and July 2021, even though they employed 22 per cent of people who worked in person during the pandemic.

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Read more: Quebec to end mask mandate May 14, citing ‘better and better’ COVID-19 trend

Dr. Alexandra Kossowski, with the public health department, said those two sectors led to more COVID-19 outbreaks likely because businesses in manufacturing and in transport and warehousing stayed open for longer periods compared with restaurants and retail stores.

“We had workers who are on-site and who were there for a lot more days during the pandemic,” she said in an interview Thursday.

Click to play video: 'Quebec to end most of its COVID-19 mask mandates on May 14' Quebec to end most of its COVID-19 mask mandates on May 14
Quebec to end most of its COVID-19 mask mandates on May 14 – May 5, 2022

Food and drink manufacturing facilities were the most affected, the study found.

The number of workplace outbreaks and the number of workers infected rose from the first wave to the second, only to fall in the third wave, the study revealed. Kossowski credited the third-wave drop in workplace outbreaks and infections to vaccination.

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Read more: COVID-19 is killing fewer people, but Quebec still reporting dozens of deaths daily

Dr. Alexandra Kossowski, with the public health department, said those two sectors led to more COVID-19 outbreaks likely because businesses in manufacturing and in transport and warehousing stayed open for longer periods compared with restaurants and retail stores.

“We had workers who are on-site and who were there for a lot more days during the pandemic,” she said in an interview Thursday.

Food and drink manufacturing facilities were the most affected, the study found.

The number of workplace outbreaks and the number of workers infected rose from the first wave to the second, only to fall in the third wave, the study revealed. Kossowski credited the third-wave drop in workplace outbreaks and infections to vaccination.

Click to play video: 'Quebec COVID-19 mask mandate to be lifted on May 14' Quebec COVID-19 mask mandate to be lifted on May 14
Quebec COVID-19 mask mandate to be lifted on May 14 – May 4, 2022

Meanwhile, Quebec reported a 57-patient decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations Thursday and 18 more deaths linked to the disease. The Health Department said 2,119 people were in hospital with COVID-19, including 64 people in intensive care, a decline of 14 from the day before. It said 21,313 doses of vaccine were administered in the past 24 hours, including 18,783 fourth doses.

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On Wednesday, the Health Department said all Quebec residents 18 and over could receive a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Quebec expanded fourth doses to people 60 and over on April 11.

Read more: ‘Quebec won the battle:’ Moderna announces vaccine production plant for Montreal

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