MONTREAL, Quebec (AP) — Quebec proceeded with the primary of three deliberate closures of non-essential retail shops Sunday because the provincial authorities tried to curb a brand new wave of COVID-19 pushed by the extremely infectious Omicron variant.
Hospitals and health-care assets in Quebec and Canada’s distant northern communities are additionally being stretched as case numbers explode.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault introduced final week that the majority of the province’s shops could be closed for the subsequent three Sundays, aside from pharmacies, comfort shops and gasoline stations.
Charles Milliard, president of the Quebec Federation of Chambers of Commerce, urged the federal government to carry the measures as quickly as doable.
“The very last thing companies want throughout these tough instances is further restrictions” Milliard mentioned in a press release. “We should depart the selection to companies to open or shut on the time that makes essentially the most sense for them, their workers and their prospects.”
The closures got here as Quebec reported 15,845 new COVID-19 instances, in addition to 13 further deaths linked to the virus.
The Well being Division mentioned the variety of hospitalizations linked to the illness rose by 70 to 1,231. It mentioned 162 individuals are in intensive care, a rise of 9.
Quebec Metropolis’s primary hospital community says it can postpone half of its surgical procedures and medical appointments beginning Wednesday as a result of spike in COVID sufferers.
Martin Beaumont, President and CEO of the CHU de Québec-Université Laval, instructed a information convention that as many as 10,000 medical appointments could possibly be delayed, permitting roughly 50 nurses to even be redirected to the pandemic’s ward.
The hospital community says 783 health-care employees are in isolation, along with the 600 nurses already lacking from the workforce earlier than the pandemic’s fifth wave hit.
The pressure attributable to the rising variety of instances is exacerbated in distant communities the place well being care is already restricted.
Bearskin Lake First Nation, a fly-in solely group in northern Ontario, declared a state of emergency on Dec. 30 when 43 residents examined optimistic for the virus. By Sunday, 169 individuals had confirmed or suspected instances of COVID-19, greater than 40 per cent of the full inhabitants.
“That is a disaster,” Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Derek Fox mentioned in an interview.
Bearskin Lake has no hospital and is often served by a nursing station with two nurses. An emergency evacuation would take greater than three hours for a aircraft to get out and in from Sioux Lookout or Thunder Bay, and that is provided that climate permits it to land.
A federal fast response crew with three main care nurses, a paramedic and two environmental well being officers landed in Bearskin Lake on Dec. 30, bringing extra testing capability with them. Two public well being nurses have been despatched by the Sioux Lookout First Nations Well being Authority as effectively.
Outbreaks in distant communities are additionally affecting Nunavut, northern Quebec and Labrador.
Nunavut confirmed one other 22 instances of COVID-19 Sunday, bringing the full to 196 in simply 10 days.
Nunavut is discouraging all non-essential journey inside the territory and has banned non-essential journey to and from a number of communities, together with Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Arviat, Igloolik and Pangnirtung.
Journey bans are additionally in place now in Nunavik in northern Quebec till mid-January, with solely essential or important journey allowed into or out of the area’s 14 villages.