Alongside the Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, and the National Director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, François Legault announced today that Quebec is facing a worrisome increase in cases of COVID-19.
At a press conference this afternoon, Legault said eight parts of Quebec are now yellow, up from four last week.
The following four regions have now been marked as code yellow "pre-alert" level:
The previous four regions already labeled yellow are:
“The number of positive cases is growing every week,” Legault said. “The problem we have is mainly community transmission between friends and family. I’m very worried about what’s happening. We must act now. Everyone has a responsibility to do so.”
In total, nearly three-quarters of the Quebec population is now affected by the “early warning”.
Luckily, there are no regions currently in code orange (moderate alert) which would result in restrictions, bans, or closures for the business sectors deemed to be at the highest risk of transmission.
The news comes after Quebec public health officials announced 292 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the province’s fifth consecutive day of over 200 cases.
In addition, an updated list on the government's website shows that Quebec schools closed 144 classes due to COVID-19 cases, as of September 11. Now, as of September 14, 223 schools in total across the province have reported positive cases of the novel coronavirus, according to figures posted on the website of the Government of Quebec.
Last but not least, Dubé also announced that, as of today, bars will no longer be allowed to sell food nor alcohol after midnight and must close by 1 a.m.
Details on the colour-coded regional alert system below
The Quebec government has unveiled a new regional Covid-19 alert and intervention system aimed at curbing the spread of the virus and preventing a possible second wave.
The colour-coded alert system was developed by public health and has four progressive levels for each region: green, yellow, orange and red.
The lowest color on the spectrum, green, calls for caution while red, the highest level, means that maximum restrictions will be applied in that area of the province. Yellow, which is level 2, is for an increased risk of transmission while orange (level 3) is for a "moderate alert" and would involve "new measures that target specific sectors of activity and settings where the risk of transmission is deemed higher."
The new system allows public health measures to be tightened in some regions without affecting others.
“Health measures will be associated with each level of alert,” public health officials said in a press release. “For example, for the yellow level, it is about strengthening basic health measures, while for the orange level, it is about limiting the number of people in private gatherings.
"With this system of alerts and regional interventions, our government has found the right balance: to ensure the maximum protection of the health of the population, while minimizing the impact of the measures on our society and our economy," said Minister Chrisitan Dubé.
"This is why we have developed a gradual approach adapted to the reality of the different regions of Quebec, and which is operationalized quickly."
"We are doing this so that our children can continue to go to school, to protect our seniors, to keep our health care workers safe, and to get our economy going," he concluded.