Quebec is reporting 712 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and an additional 15 deaths linked to the virus as the province’s vaccine program continues to expand.
Since the start of the pandemic, 303,051 people have been infected with the virus, while 285,682 have recovered.
Health authorities say that of the 15 new fatalities, three occurred in the last 24 hours, nine occurred between March 15 and March 20, while the remaining three are said to have occurred before March 15.
To date, the virus has claimed the lives of 10,614 Quebecers.
Hospitalizations were on the rise on Monday with 12 more patients seeking treatment in hospital for a total of 513. Of those, 112 were being treated in intensive care, an increase of 12 since Sunday.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé pointed out that all COVID-19 indicators had shown an increase on Monday.
Variants remain a source of particular concern, with Dubé saying on Twitter the situation is “worrying.”
“We are monitoring the situation closely,” he added.
Since the end of February, variants have made up an ever growing proportion of new cases, jumping from 13 per cent the week of Feb. 21 to 20 per cent, the week of March 7.
Dubé urged renewed caution amid the threat of a third wave.
“We must continue to respect the measures, despite the arrival of good weather, if we want to avoid a third wave,” he said.
Meanwhile, Quebec’s vaccination program is opening up to residents of Montreal over the age of 60 on Monday, while residents in other regions of Quebec can only book an appointment if they are aged 65 and over.
Health authorities, say 21,180 doses were administered on Sunday for a total of 966,566 doses since the province began vaccinating in December.
That number means around 11. 4 per cent of Quebec’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Quebec aims to have all adults vaccinated with at least one dose by June 24.
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