Quebec moves more regions to maximum COVID alert as province reports 1,078 new cases

Quebec moves more regions to maximum COVID alert as province reports 1,078 new cases

MONTREAL — Authorities moved most of the cities along the St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Montreal to the highest COVID-19 alert level Thursday, as the government pleaded with people to stay home for Thanksgiving.

Trois-Rivieres, Que., and the surrounding cities will join Montreal and Quebec City on maximum or “red” alert, Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters.

That decision, he said, means bars, restaurant dining areas, gyms and most entertainment venues will be forced to close on Sunday. Mask-wearing will also become mandatory in high schools in those areas by the middle of next week.

Dube said police will be setting up checkpoints on roads leading into some areas of the province, including parts of the Saguenay region north of Quebec City, to discourage non-essential travel.

He said the partial lockdowns in the red zones, where public indoor and outdoor gatherings are also banned, were imposed to limit community transmission of COVID-19.

“Limit yourself to your inner circle, that’s it, that’s very simple,” Dube told a Quebec City news conference.

“By that you’ll be at a very low number of contacts and you’ll be protecting yourself, your family and you’ll make sure we can break the wave. It’s as simple as that.”

Quebec reported 1,078 new COVID-19 cases and nine additional deaths Thursday, while the number of people being treated in hospital increased by 16 to 425 — 68 of whom are in intensive care.

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge said police have been present outside schools to educate young people about the need to follow public health measures, such as physical distancing.

“I think it’s a good idea to have help from the police forces to come and raise awareness,” Roberge said in Quebec City. “I think we should all work together, parents, school staff, police forces to educate our young people.”

Quebec has now reported 82,992 infections since the pandemic began, with 5,915 deaths. The province has less than a quarter of the Canadian population, yet more than half of all reported infections and more than 60 per cent of deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Earlier this week, Dube raised the idea that perhaps Quebecers were less disciplined when it came to following the rules.

Liberal Leader Dominque Anglade said Thursday that such comments are a signal the government of Premier Francois Legault was unprepared for the second COVID-19 wave.

Legault said the province is trying to increase its contact tracing capacity, and he again urged Quebecers to download the federal COVID Alert smartphone app, which notifies someone when they have been exposed to the virus.

But Quebecers have been sluggish to use the application since it went live in the province on Monday. Legault said some people are leery, and he blamed the opposition Parti Quebecois and Quebec solidaire for raising doubts.

“I think that Quebecers are scared about their personal data, that it can be used by somebody else, the government, the ministry, Google, whoever,” Legault said. “We made all the verifications since this summer, and I can guarantee the Quebecers that there is no risk for their personal data.”

Interim PQ leader Pascal Berube called Legault’s allegations baseless, noting a parliamentary commission rejected using the app. Quebec solidaire co-spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said Legault’s comments were misleading.

“The main problem with this application is not the protection of personal data. It is that it will overload the (testing) clinics, which already give results too late,” Nadeau-Dubois said.

Legault appealed to Quebecers to stay home this Thanksgiving weekend.

“I’m asking Quebecers not to have a meeting with their family,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City. “Usually I go see my mother myself, (but) I won’t do it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2020.

Sidhartha Banerjee and Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer RCMP traffic stops lead to number of charges

Two different traffic stops conducted by Red Deer RCMP in September led… Continue reading

Boards for the neighbourhood outdoor rink near École Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School and École Camille J Lerouge School are in place for the skating season. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Boards going up at outdoor neighbourhood rinks

City of Red Deer will alert public when rinks are ready to use

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

FILE - A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Tim Hortons to test deposit program for returnable coffee cups and packaging

Test program to start at select Toronto restaurants

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier isolating after minister tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating at home

Cash and Cars lottery
Sylvan Lake woman wins major prize from Cash and Cars Lottery

Karin Plunkett of Sylvan Lake was a big winner in the annual… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

world affairs
British brinkmanship leaves little hope of a Brexit trade deal

The British pantomime is a traditional Christmas entertainment in which stock characters… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Red Deer city council will hold a public hearing on Oct. 28 about whether to take the future expansion of Molly Banister Drive off the table. (Photo by MAMTA LULLA/Advocate staff).
Opinion: Molly Banister extension isn’t as important as quality of life

Citizen opposition to the Molly Banister Drive extension has grown since the… Continue reading

Email letters to
I ask myself: ‘What the hell’ has happened to Red Deer?

I moved to Red Deer on Nov. 1, 2001, and I fell… Continue reading

Most Read