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COVID live updates: Hospitalization surge continues as Quebec reports 12 new deaths

As of today, Quebecers 70 and up can book appointments for fourth vaccine doses.

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Updated throughout the day on Wednesday, April 6. Questions/comments: ariga@postmedia.com

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Top updates

  • Québec Solidaire accuses Legault of ‘cowardice’ when faced with Herron CHSLD revelations
  • Hospitalization surge continues as Quebec reports 12 new deaths
  • As of today, Quebecers 70 and up are eligible for fourth vaccines doses
  • Current vaccines not ‘well-matched’ against BA.2, but boosters protect against serious outcomes: FDA
  • Opinion: Alarm bells rang for at least 10 days before Herron exposé
  • Starting Thursday, Ontarians aged 60 and up eligible for fourth COVID-19 vaccine
  • Alberta’s top doctor defends government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic at civil trial
  • ‘COVID is not a cold’ – Germany U-turns on ending mandatory isolation
  • ‘So many bodies piled up’: Hong Kong funeral services overwhelmed by COVID victims
  • Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, testing
  • Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter

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11:15 a.m.

Québec Solidaire accuses Legault of ‘cowardice’ when faced with Herron CHSLD revelations

Quebec Premier François Legault is as quick to take credit for whatever goes right during the pandemic as he is to find scapegoats when things go wrong, Québec Solidaire MNA Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said Wednesday.

Read our full story.


11:05 a.m.

Hospitalization surge continues as Quebec reports 12 new deaths

Quebec has recorded 3,761 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced this morning.

That’s the highest one-day case count in more than two months.

The case tally only includes people who received PCR tests at government screening clinics. It does not accurately reflect the number of cases since it does not include the results of home rapid tests.

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In addition, 12 new deaths were reported, bringing the cumulative total to 14,454.

Hospitalizations continue to mount and are at their highest level in almost six weeks.

The average daily net increase in hospitalizations over the past seven days is 48 – double the previous week’s seven-day average.

Before that, hospitalizations had been falling at a steady pace since late January.

Some other key statistics from Quebec’s latest COVID-19 update:

  • Montreal Island: 804 cases, zero deaths.
  • Net increase in hospitalizations: 61, for total of 1,540 (226 entered hospital, 165 discharged).
  • Net decrease in intensive care patients: 3, for total of 66 (10 entered ICUs, 13 discharged).
  • 24,249 PCR tests conducted Monday.
  • 19,269 vaccine doses administered over previous 24 hours.

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10:25 a.m.

As of today, Quebecers 70 and up are eligible for fourth vaccines doses

We have updated our guide to vaccinations to reflect the fact that Quebec is expanding access to fourth vaccine doses (also referred to as second boosters).

Those 70 and older are eligible as of today, while people 60 and up can book shots as of Monday (April 11).

Read our guide.


10:20 a.m.

Current vaccines not ‘well-matched’ against BA.2, but boosters protect against serious outcomes: FDA

From the Reuters news agency:

Current COVID-19 vaccines are not well-matched against the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday, as its panel of outside experts meets to discuss changes to future booster doses.

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The FDA, however, said booster shots protect against serious outcomes of COVID-19, compared with the two preliminary doses.

U.S. health officials in late March authorized a second booster dose of Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines for people aged 50 and older, citing data showing waning immunity and risks posed by Omicron variants of the virus.

“This discussion today is a much larger discussion – it’s a discussion for what do we do about the entire population, and what do we do when we think the virus has evolved further,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

A fourth dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine lowered rates of COVID-19 among the elderly but the protection against infection appeared short-lived, a large study from Israel found on Tuesday.

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10 a.m.

Opinion: Alarm bells rang for at least 10 days before Herron exposé

A trove of emails and text messages calls into question who knew what and when about the tragedy at the Herron nursing home, first exposed by the Montreal Gazette.

Read Allison Hanes’ latest column.


10 a.m.

Starting Thursday, Ontarians age 60 and up eligible for fourth dose

Ontario residents age 60 and older will be eligible for a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose starting Thursday.

Read our full story.


10 a.m.

Alberta’s top doctor defends government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic at civil trial

Alberta’s top doctor is in court this week defending the government’s “unprecedented” response to the COVID-19 pandemic — the first time Dr. Deena Hinshaw is testifying before a judge.

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Hinshaw is testifying in the civil trial for a court case that began in December 2020 — not even a year into the COVID-19 pandemic — when two churches and three individuals filed a lawsuit against the provincial government, seeking an end to mask mandates and regulations around in-person gatherings.

Read our full story.


10 a.m.

‘COVID is not a cold’ – Germany U-turns on ending mandatory isolation

Germany will not end mandatory isolation for most people who catch COVID-19, the health minister said on Wednesday, reversing course after concerns were raised that lifting quarantine restrictions would suggest the pandemic was over.

Read our full story.


10 a.m.

‘So many bodies piled up’: Hong Kong funeral services overwhelmed by COVID victims

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This aerial view photo shows the construction site of a temporary isolation facility to house COVID-19 patients being built at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.
This aerial view photo shows the construction site of a temporary isolation facility to house COVID-19 patients being built at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. Photo by YAN ZHAO /AFP via Getty Images

The number of traditional wooden coffins are in short supply in Hong Kong as authorities scramble to add mortuary space in the financial hub’s battle on COVID-19, which is swamping funeral parlours.

Read our full story.


9:15 a.m.

Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, testing

Vaccinations

Testing


8:30 a.m.

Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter

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You can sign up here.


ariga@postmedia.com

Read my previous live blogs here.


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