The curfew imposed across Quebec in a bid to quell the spread of COVID-19 is coming under renewed scrutiny as public health experts question whether residents will still be willing to comply with the measure as the days grow longer.
The curfew — which came into effect in early January — has corresponded with a steep decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported daily in the province.
It also appears to have broad public support, with 70 per cent of Quebecers in favour of the measure, according to a survey released Tuesday by the province’s public health institute.
But that support might decline once the curfew means staying in when it’s still light outside, said Kim Lavoie, the chair of behavioral medicine at the University of Quebec at Montreal.
“From a behavioral perspective, as the days get longer, it’s going to seem less and less natural to be in the house after a certain time,” said Lavoie, who is currently studying adherence to COVID-19 measures around the world.
While Lavoie said she would support continuing the curfew if there is evidence that suggests it’s needed, she thinks later sunsets could erode support for the measure.
Quebec reported 789 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 11 additional virus-related deaths.
The Health Department says the number of hospitalizations rose by one to 551, while the number of patients in intensive care was stable at 106.
Health authorities say 31,527 doses of vaccine were administered on Friday, marking a new single-day high and bringing the total number of doses delivered to date to 681,487.
Officials recorded 354 new cases in Montreal, while 84 new cases were reported in the suburb of Laval.
The nearby regions of Lanaudiere, the Laurentides and Monteregie were the only other districts in the province to log more than 60 new infections on Friday.
Quebec has reported 296,918 cases of COVID-19 and 10,535 deaths associated with the disease since the onset of the pandemic. Health authorities say two deaths were removed from the count after an investigation showed they were not caused by COVID-19.
In Ontario, 1,468 new COVID-19 cases were reported Saturday, up from 1,371 the previous day, as well as 11 more deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says the latest count includes 381 new infections in Toronto, 226 in Peel and 168 in York Region. The case total
The province reports that 676 people are being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, including 282 patients in intensive care.
Elliott says 1,116,496 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Ontario as of Friday evening.
Some family doctors in Ontario will start administering COVID-19 vaccinations in six regions today. The province announced this week that some family doctors in Toronto, Peel Region, Hamilton, Guelph, Peterborough, and Simcoe-Muskoka will be administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot to patients between the ages of 60 and 64.
ELSEWHERE IN CANADA
British Columbia: A new COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a glass manufacturing company in Langley, B.C. Fraser Health says 44 employees of the facility have tested positive for the virus at Vitrum Glass.
Yukon: The provincial government is warning of a COVID-19 exposure at Coeur Mining’s Silvertip mine just south of its border with British Columbia. It says health officials have been informed of transmission at the mine, which draws workers from areas including Lower Post, B.C., Whitehorse and Watson Lake, Yukon.
Newfoundland and Labrador: No new confirmed cases on Saturday; 53 active cases in the province with three people in hospital.
Nova Scotia: Five new cases, with three of those in the Western Zone and are close contacts of previously reported patients. The other two are in the province’s Central Zone, with one being tied to travel outside Atlantic Canada and the other currently under investigation. The province has 20 active cases of COVID-19.
New Brunswick: Health official reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. There are now 33 active cases in the province and one patient is hospitalized. There have been 1,465 cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick since the onset of the pandemic, as well as 30 virus-related deaths.
Manitoba: Four new deaths from COVID-19, as well as 92 new cases as of Saturday morning. Three of Saturday’s new deaths were in the Winnipeg region. The fourth death was in the Interlake-Eastern health region. Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate is 4.2 per cent provincially and 2.9 per cent in Winnipeg.
Saskatchewan: The province says vaccine booking eligibility is being expanded to all residents aged 72 and older. Those eligible can begin booking appointments online or by phone starting at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The province is also reporting 153 new cases of COVID-19 as well as the virus-related death of one person in the Saskatoon health zone in their 70s.
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