Quebec reports 182 COVID-19 cases, three deaths as active cases drop below 2,000

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MONTREAL — Quebec reported a seventh straight day of COVID-19 infections below the 200 case threshold on Saturday, with the number of active cases in the province dipping to its lowest level since September.

Health officials reported 182 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths attributed to the virus, but none in the previous 24 hours.

Hospitalizations dropped by 17 to 227, while the number of patients in intensive care held steady at 59.

There were 1,970 active cases in the province, dipping below the 2,000 mark for the first time since last September.

Montreal reported the most new infections with 60, followed by Montérégie, south of the city, with 24 cases and the Outaouais, in western Quebec, with 23.

Last week, authorities announced that as of Monday, all regions of the province will see their pandemic-alert levels at either yellow or green.

The province administered 103,610 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Friday and said just over 68 per cent of residents have received a first dose, while nearly 11 per cent have received two doses.

Health Minister Christian Dubé tweeted Saturday that for the past three days, the province has been giving out more boosters than first doses, with the objective of vaccinating 75 per cent of Quebecers 12 and older by Aug. 31.

The second doses have been slowed by a limited supply of vaccines, but the province is expecting to get 600,000 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines next week and another 900,000 the week of June 21.

"I am confident that Quebecers will get their second dose, it is the key to success in winning against the virus," Dubé wrote.

On Friday, the province's immunization committee issued an updated opinion on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the province, saying it would be entirely possible not to use it given the increased availability of the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The committee said the province's campaign has progressed considerably and large quantities of those types of vaccines are expected between June and August, making it possible to reach the objective of covering the entire Quebec population aged 12 years and over with a first dose by the end of June and with two doses by the end of August.

On Friday, Health Canada announced it would not distribute the 300,000 initial doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine received in April for health and safety reasons.

Quebec has reported 372,838 infections, 11,170 deaths and 359,698 recoveries since the beginning of the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2021.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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