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Quebec reports 669 new COVID-19 cases and 20 additional deaths

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A man walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, on Feb. 12, 2021.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Quebec’s daily infection count and the number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the province continued to trend downward on Tuesday, ahead of a 5 p.m. news conference by Premier Francois Legault.

Quebec reported 669 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including six in the past 24 hours. The number of new cases was the lowest in months, but the government hadn’t yet disclosed how many COVID-19 tests had been conducted to reach that figure.

Health officials said hospitalizations dropped by 33 to 771, and 134 people were in intensive care, down two. COVID-19-related hospitalizations have dropped by 198 since Feb. 7.

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Legault is scheduled to hold news conference in Quebec City late Tuesday afternoon alongside Health Minister Christian Dube. Media reports have indicated Legault may ease some restrictions regarding certain sports activities in time for spring break.

Speaking at the legislature, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade urged Legault’s government to be more transparent about its decisions on managing the pandemic. She said any easing of restrictions should also be accompanied by more rapid testing and increased screening for COVID-19 variants.

Legault and Dube are also likely to provide an update on the vaccine rollout, which is expected to ramp up following an expected increase in deliveries. Dube said Monday the province is scheduled to receive more than 90,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, which will allow it to speed up immunization efforts in private seniors homes.

The province said it administered 2,732 doses of vaccine on Monday, for a total of 297,694. Quebec has reported a total of 278,187 COVID-19 infections and 10,246 deaths linked to the pandemic. The province has 9,399 active reported infections.

The large number of COVID-19 infections in some places makes it more likely for new variants of the virus to emerge. Science Reporter Ivan Semeniuk explains how vaccines may not be as effective against these new strains, making it a race to control and track the spread of variants before they become a dangerous new outbreak. The Globe and Mail

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