Beginning May 14, Quebecers will no longer be required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces such as businesses, schools and daycares. However, the mask remains required in hospitals, medical clinics, CHSLDs and public transport to protect the most vulnerable.
In a press conference Wednesday, acting national director of public health for Quebec, Dr.right Luc Boileau justified the lifting of the mask requirement with the improvement in the health situation. All indicators are “down”: number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, absentee health workers, infected students and outbreaks, he listed. “We are on our way out of this sixth wave,” said the Dright boileau.
In its latest forecasts released Wednesday, the National Institute for Excellence in Health and Social Services (INESS) predicts a fall in new hospitalizations over the next two weeks, bringing the number of beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 to 1,327 (with a confidence interval between 1,214 and 1,214). and 1450). On Wednesday it was 2176.
Despite this improvement, the Dright Boileau warned Quebecers that the virus will continue to spread over the next few weeks, but at a slower rate. “We have to continue to be careful. The pandemic is not over yet,” he said. The influenza virus is also making a comeback in Quebec after a two-year absence.
“Even if wearing a mask in public places is no longer mandatory, this does not mean that it is a ban on use,” emphasized the Dright Boileau at a press conference. It can be worn by personal choice or to protect others. »
Public Health recommends that vulnerable people, such as B. immunocompromised people, continue to wear a mask in public places. She also proposes it in private homes for seniors and middle and family-like resources.
Care of the mask on public transport
The acting state health director justifies the retention of mask wearing on public transport “for a certain time” with the difficulty there of “controlling the traffic” and keeping the distance between passengers. However, this obligation could be lifted “in the spring”.
The authorities remind that people who have had COVID-19 must wear the mask during any social interaction for at least five days after their isolation. People living with an infected person must wear it for 10 days.
Despite the relief announced on Wednesday, the Dright Boileau foresees no increase in the number of COVID-19 cases after May 14. “Our calculations and our forecasts show that it will come at a good time when the slope should continue to decrease and not generate an additional increase in cases and hospital admissions. »
Cases are also expected to decrease during the hot season. “If we look at last summer, we had a break of about three months. Last summer, four months’ respite,” said during the press conference that Dright Jean Longtin, microbiologist and clinical expert in support of the scientific management of the pandemic at the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS).
Public Health expects a seventh wave in the fall. She is preparing for a new vaccination campaign aimed at more customers who are at risk of complications if they contract COVID-19. A fourth dose is offered to people over the age of 60.
“What we want to do first of all is prevent serious infections, and there are people who are more vulnerable because of age, or even those who have certain diseases or have less powerful immune systems for all sorts of reasons. […] These people must be protected,” explained the Dright Luca Boileau.
The acting national director of public health has no intention of restricting access to Quebecers for a booster dose next fall. “It is certain that the young adult in great shape who has received two doses or who has completed the Omicron or the BA.2, maybe we will not say to him: ‘Run after, definitely do it.’ According to MSSS, 38% of 18-39 year olds have received their third dose to date.
When asked if wearing a mask could become mandatory again during the seventh wave, the Dright Boileau responded that he had “no intention of reversing any action”. “There’s no one in the world who can predict what’s going to happen with the coronavirus,” he nuanced. New variants may appear. “We are not immune to a surprise that will cause us to adjust our measures. »