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To soon to call, but Quebec headed for possible 6th wave: Boileau

Montreal, March 27: Although cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in Quebec, public health says it’s too early to call it a sixth wave.

According to interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau, there are no plans to reinstate health measures in the near future, but the situation will be closely monitored.

Roughly 8,600 healthcare workers are absent from work due to illness — a rise of 60 per cent since last week.

“The vast majority of that is because of COVID-19,” he said.

The province is still scheduled to lift the mask mandate by mid-April, although this could change if the situation continues to decline.

Boileau pointed out that, as hospitalizations increase elsewhere in Quebec, Montreal has remained relatively stable.

This may be because Montreal already experienced high Omicron rates earlier this year, meaning the variant isn’t packing as big a punch as before — even with the BA.2 sub-variant on the rise.

BA.2 accounts for about half of new infections in Quebec.

Public health is preparing a booster campaign for a fourth dose of vaccines, initially for those most at risk, such as those in long-term care facilities, seniors’ residences, immunosuppressed individuals, and the elderly.

Quebec reported 2,203 new positive cases of the virus on Friday, although this number was likely higher as PCR tests are not available to the general public.

With a test positivity rate of 16.3 per cent, it was the third day in a row daily case counts rose past 2,000.

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