COVID-19 live updates: Quebec case count stable at 612 but hospitalization still rising

Quebec defends vaccine passport security as an investigation is launched into a breach of the province’s QR code proof-of-vaccination system.

Author of the article:

Andy Riga

Health-care workers wait to vaccinate people at a COVID-19 clinic, Tuesday, August 10, 2021 in Montreal.
Health-care workers wait to vaccinate people at a COVID-19 clinic, Tuesday, August 10, 2021 in Montreal. Photo by Ryan Remiorz /The Canadian Press

Updated throughout the day on Friday, Aug. 27. Questions/comments: ariga@postmedia.com

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Top updates

  • Quebec’s VaxiCode vaccine passport app downloaded more than 1M times, province says
  • Canada approves Moderna for 12-17 age group
  • 96% of teachers are vaccinated against COVID-19: poll
  • Quebec case count stable at 612 but hospitalization still rising
  • Mandatory vaccines gets higher marks than mask among university students: poll
  • Quebec defends vaccine passport security, as investigation launched over QR code breach
  • Vaccine trial volunteers upset they’re not recognized as fully inoculated
  • Unvaccinated nurse tests positive at Lakeshore General Hospital
  • Opinion: When tragedy strikes, Quebec rarely holds anyone accountable
  • Opinion: The proper etiquette for asking guests their vax status
  • A guide to COVID-19 vaccinations in Quebec
  • Here are the current pandemic restrictions in Montreal and Quebec
  • Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter

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12:05 p.m.

Quebec’s VaxiCode vaccine passport app downloaded more than 1M times, province says

Quebec’s VaxiCode vaccine passport app has been downloaded just over 1 million times, the Health Department said this morning.

And VaxiCode Verif – the app used to scan proof of vaccination – was downloaded 127,000 times.

Vaccinated Quebecers can now download the iOS version of the app (for iPhones, iPads and iPods). A version for Android devices is expected to be available via Google Play in a few days.

The vaccine passport will be mandatory for people 13 and older who want to access services and activities deemed non-essential by the provincial government, including bars, restaurants, gyms, festivals and sporting events.

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Though the passport will come into effect Sept. 1, no penalties will be issued for the first two weeks. Quebecers will be able to use a smartphone app to prove their vaccination status or simply carry their QR code on paper.

We have published two guides to the passports – one looks at how to download and set up the app, and another answers key questions about the system, including how, when and why.

Quebec’s VaxiCode app is available for iOS devices.
Quebec’s VaxiCode app is available for iOS devices. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

11:55 a.m.

Federal parties prescribe health measures on the campaign trail

From The Canadian Press:

Health issues are dominating the federal campaign trail today with the Liberals stressing the importance of vaccination against COVID-19, a Conservative pledge to enhance benefits for seriously ill workers and a prescription for universal pharmacare from the NDP.

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During a stop in Mississauga, Ont., Justin Trudeau says a re-elected Liberal government would procure enough vaccines to ensure all Canadians have access to free COVID-19 booster shots and any needed second-generation vaccines.

Trudeau also promises a $1-billion fund to assist provinces and territories that usher in a requirement for proof-of-vaccine credentials for non-essential businesses and public spaces.

In Corner Brook, N.L., Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he would increase employment insurance benefits for ailing workers to 52 weeks from 26, a move that could help people battle life-threatening diseases like cancer.

Visiting Thunder Bay, Ont., NDP Leader Jagmeet pledges to begin working with provinces immediately to deliver a universal, single-payer, public pharmacare program for all Canadians.

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Singh says millions can’t afford to take the medications they need and must skip doses, cut their pills in half or even go without them.


11:50 a.m.

Canada approves Moderna for 12-17 age group

(2/3) After a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, Health Canada has determined that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing #Covid19 in youth aged 12 to 17.

— Health Canada and PHAC (@GovCanHealth) August 27, 2021

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11:45 a.m.

Update on Quebec’s vaccination campaign


11:45 a.m.

Updated charts: Quebec cases, deaths


11:35 a.m.

Ontario universities offering hybrid frosh week as pandemic continues

Several Ontario universities will be going hybrid for orientation week next month, The Canadian Press reports.

The University of Toronto, York University, Hamilton’s McMaster University, Laurentian University in Sudbury and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay are among those offering a mix of virtual and in-person events.

The schools are focusing on outdoor gatherings when students meet face-to-face, with events such as movie nights, scavenger hunts in small groups and bubble soccer.

Some universities are also allowing second-year students to participate in on-campus orientation events since the pandemic meant they missed out on them last year.

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Organizers say those attending orientation – or frosh – week will need to abide by universities’ COVID-19 vaccine policies.

They also say several public health measures, including masking and limits on attendance, will be in place.

Several schools have strengthened their vaccination policies recently, saying anyone attending campus will need to be fully immunized this fall unless they have a valid exemption.


11:15 a.m.

It’s Day 2 of hearings into Quebec’s vaccine mandate for health workers

Today is the second day of National Assembly hearings into the Coalition Avenir Québec’s plan to make vaccinations mandatory for health workers.

You can watch the hearings on the National Assembly website.


11:15 a.m.

96% of teachers are vaccinated against COVID-19: poll

A total of 96 per cent of Quebec elementary and high school teachers say they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a new poll finds.

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Commissioned by the Quebec government, the Synopis Recherche Marketing poll also reveals eight teachers out of 10 support the idea of making vaccination obligatory in the education system.

Read our full story, by Philip Authier.


11:05 a.m.

Quebec case count stable at 612 but hospitalization still rising

Quebec has recorded 612 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced this morning.

The government said 82 per cent of the newly infected Quebecers were not adequately vaccinated.

That’s up marginally from yesterday’s total of 603.

Hospitalizations are still on the rise and today reached a two-month high.

Seventy-four per cent of the latest people to enter hospitals with COVID-19 were not adequately vaccinated, the province said.

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No new deaths were reported.

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

  • Montreal Island: 203 cases, zero deaths.
  • Net increase in hospitalizations: 7, for a total of 126.
  • No change in the number of intensive care patients: 36
  • 33,907 additional vaccine doses were administered over the previous 24 hours.
  • 20,621 tests were conducted Wednesday, the last day for which screening data is available.
  • Positivity rate: 3.1 per cent.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Quebec has reported 387,230 cases and 11,285 deaths linked to COVID-19. A total of 371,623 people who have contracted the disease have since recovered.


10:15 a.m.

Mandatory vaccines gets higher marks than mask among university students: poll

Universities and provincial governments are taking different approaches to the reopening of universities.

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Some universities outside Quebec are requiring vaccinations. In Quebec, masks are being required but proof of vaccination will not be necessary.

At McGill University, some law professors are demanding a vaccine mandate.

Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies polled Canadians about the measures.

“While Canadians in general and students in particular favour both (masks and vaccine mandates) when asked separately, if called upon to choose between them it is the mandatory vaccination that yields greater support,” said Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies.

Universities are often places for lively debate amongst faculty and students about rights and liberties. Nonetheless, some three out of four students surveyed favour mandatory vaccines for faculty, staff and students and while a near similar percentage support mandatory masks, when asked to weigh their preferences it is mandatory vaccination that gets higher marks.”

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Léger surveyed 1,515 Canadians between Aug. 13 and Aug.15. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.52 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


10 a.m.

Quebec defends vaccine passport security, as investigation launched over QR code breach

The QR code at the centre of Quebec’s vaccination passport is secure and those trying to tamper with it will face legal consequences, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said Friday after reports emerged that members of the National Assembly — including Premier François Legault — had their codes hacked.

Read our full story.

The Health Department this morning published a statement, noting that “when the vaccination passport is in force, an identity document, with a photo, will be required to validate the identity of the customer who presents a QR code.”

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It added: “In addition to exposing himself to the risk of prosecution, a person who would like to use the QR code of another person to enter an establishment requiring the vaccination passport, would be refused access and will be reported to the police.

“Remember that we are still in a trial period … Making the (vaccine passport) app available before the entry into force of the vaccine passport on Sept. 1 (will allow us to) make necessary adjustments. If improvements need to be made, they will be made.”

Here’s the full statement.

Comme mentionné par @TresorQc @ericcaire, le code QR est sécuritaire. Le code QR et les renseignements personnels qu’il contient ne peuvent être utilisés sans le consentement des personnes. Les contrevenants s’exposent à des poursuites civiles/criminelles. https://t.co/T59CxydKsZ

— Christian Dubé (@cdube_sante) August 27, 2021

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9:25 a.m.

Quebec vaccine trial volunteers upset they’re not recognized as fully inoculated

As vaccine passports are about to go into effect on Sept. 1, a group of Quebec residents who volunteered for a local vaccine trial by Quebec-based Medicago are frustrated that they are being penalized for their efforts and won’t be “vaccine-approved” for restaurants, gyms and other gathering places in the province.

Read our full story, by Karen Seidman.


9:25 a.m.

Unvaccinated nurse tests positive for COVID-19 at Lakeshore General Hospital

A nurse working in the emergency room at Lakeshore General Hospital in Pointe-Claire has tested positive for COVID-19.

The nurse was not vaccinated, but she was screened three times a week and wore her mask at all times, a spokesperson said.

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Read our full story.


9:25 a.m.

Opinion: When tragedy strikes, Quebec rarely holds anyone accountable

The decision not to lay charges in the Résidence Herron nursing home debacle is the latest example of our inability to hold anyone criminally responsible, Allison Hanes writes in her latest column.

Understanding how the calamity at Résidence Herron fits into the bigger picture of Quebec failing its seniors in the early days of the pandemic is critical to ensuring nothing so disgraceful happens again, Allison Hanes writes.
Understanding how the calamity at Résidence Herron fits into the bigger picture of Quebec failing its seniors in the early days of the pandemic is critical to ensuring nothing so disgraceful happens again, Allison Hanes writes. Photo by John Mahoney /Montreal Gazette files

9:25 a.m.

Opinion: The proper etiquette for asking guests their vax status

“Several readers have made inquiries as to what the proper etiquette is for vetting prospective dinner guests based on their vax status… In lieu of Emily Post, I seek the etiquette counsel of Montreal psychotherapist Gina Lennox.”

Read Bill Brownstein’s latest column.


9:15 a.m.

The situation across Canada

Here’s the rate of case growth per 100,000 people over the past seven days, via the federal government’s latest epidemiology update.

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9:15 a.m.

A guide to COVID-19 vaccinations in Quebec

Local health authorities have set up mass vaccination sites across Montreal.

You can book appointments via the Clic Santé website or by phone at 1-877-644-4545.

Quebecers can also visit walk-in AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccine clinics.

Here are the nuts and bolts of getting vaccinated, by Katherine Wilton. Her guide includes the age groups targeted, how to book appointments, and addresses of vaccination centres.

Two private sites can also help you book appointments:

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

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9:15 a.m.

Here are the current pandemic restrictions in Montreal and Quebec

We are regularly updating our list of what services are open, closed or modified in Montreal and Quebec, including information on the curfew and other lockdown measures.

You can read it here.


9:15 a.m.

Here’s where Montrealers can get tested today

Montrealers can be screened at test centres across the island.

You can check screening clinic wait times here.


8:30 a.m.

Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter

Stay informed with our daily email newsletter focused on local coronavirus coverage and other essential news, delivered directly to your email inbox by 7 p.m. on weekdays.

You can sign up here.


ariga@postmedia.com

Read my previous live blogs here.


More On This Topic

  1. A vaccination worker carries a sign as she tries to recruit people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at a mobile clinic in Place des Festivals in Montreal Sunday August 8, 2021.

    Aug. 26: Eastern, central Montreal have lower double-vaccination rates, analysis shows

  2. A masked teacher speaks to a class at John F. Kennedy High School in Montreal Tuesday November 10, 2020.

    Aug. 25: Drouin urges teachers, daycare workers to get vaccinated ASAP

  3. According to the Quebec government, when the QR code on a fully vaccinated person's phone is scanned, an

    Aug. 24: Quebec’s vaccine passport comes into effect Sept. 1

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