There are now 1,754 COVID-positive patients, the lowest level in almost five weeks.

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Updated throughout the day on Friday, May 13. Questions/comments: [email protected]

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top updates

  • Dubé says he’ll keep wearing masks in ‘certain situations’ after mandates lifted
  • As it prepares to lift masks, Quebec reports 30 deaths, another big drop in hospitalizations
  • Despite end of most mandates tomorrow, Quebecers will still have to wear masks in some settings
  • Optimism, concerns as sixth wave wanes in Quebec
  • Most of Quebec’s COVID-19 mask mandates end Saturday
  • Vignettes: Five striking moments from Quebec’s pandemic journey
  • McMaster University wins court decision over student vaccine mandates
  • ‘Not free from COVID’: Thousands pray at Portuguese shrine despite fears of new wave
  • China stocks rise as Shanghai says ‘victory’ against COVID getting closer
  • North Korea reports first COVID death as fever spreads ‘explosively’
  • Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, testing
  • Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter

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12:40 a.m.

Dubé says he’ll keep wearing masks in ‘certain situations’ after mandates lifted

Health Minister Christian Dubé says he’ll keep wearing masks in some situations after the province drops most mandates tomorrow.

“If you ask me, personally… I think that I will continue to wear (them) in certain situations where I feel I’m more comfortable with the protection of the mask,” the minister told reporters today at a Montreal press conference about suicide prevention.

“I’ll see how things evolve in the coming weeks.”

Dubé said other Quebecers may want to continue to wear masks.

“It’s normal that there’s a period of transition,” he said, adding that it has “become a reflex” to wear a mask when visiting places such as grocery stores.

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“It’s important to be respectful about how people feel about” masks, Dubé added.

The minister said he’s happy Quebec has reached a point where public health officials say it’s safe to drop most mask mandates.

“It’s very, very good news that we can take this step now,” he said.

Dubé was asked if he’s apprehensive about the end of mandatory masks in most public places.

In response, he said he is not worried because he has confidence in the public health department and in Quebecers.

He noted that for now, masks will continue to be mandatory in some settings – on public transit and in health care facilities and long-term care homes.

Might Quebec reinstate mask mandates later this year in the event of another COVID-19 wave?

Dubé said it’s too early to tell, but indicated that in the future masks would be “recommended” rather than mandated.

The minister stressed the pandemic is not over, citing the number of deaths being registered in recent days.

Over the past week, Quebec has reported an average of 21 new COVID-related fatalities daily.

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“Yes, the situation is improving but the virus is still there,” Dubé said.

Watch the press conference:

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11:35 a.m.

Chart: Current situation vs. one year ago


11:35 a.m.

Charts: Quebec cases, deaths


11:35 a.m.

Charts: Quebec’s vaccination campaign


11:05 a.m.

As it prepares to lift masks, Quebec reports 30 deaths, another big drop in hospitalizations

Quebec has recorded 900 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced this morning.

The case tally only includes people who received PCR tests at government screening clinics. It does not accurately reflect the number of cases since it does not include the results of home rapid tests.

Thirty new deaths were reported, bringing the cumulative total to 15,256.

The province reported another big drop in hospitalizations. The number of COVID-positive patients is at its lowest point in almost five weeks.

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Some other key statistics from Quebec’s latest COVID-19 update:

  • Montreal Island: 204 cases, 4 deaths.
  • Net decrease in hospitalizations: 67, for a total of 1,754 (92 entered hospital, 159 discharged).
  • Net decrease in intensive care patients: 1, for a total of 59 (6 entered ICUs, 7 discharged).
  • 13,310 PCR tests conducted Wednesday.
  • 20,365 vaccine doses administered over previous 24 hours.

10:20 a.m.

Despite end of most mandates tomorrow, Quebecers will still have to wear masks in some settings


10 a.m.

Optimism, concerns as sixth wave wanes in Quebec

Though public health experts still urge caution, Quebec is looking to enter a new phase of the pandemic this weekend. For the first time in nearly two years, masks will no longer be required in most public spaces as of Saturday.

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An epidemiologist with Quebec’s public health institute says the recent decrease seen in most indicators should continue through the summer.

“The current trend is clearly downward and we certainly expect this to continue for the next few months,” said Dr. Gaston De Serres, an epidemiologist with the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ).

“That is if nothing happens in terms of a totally new variant that would be able to escape the immunity that exists in the population.”

Read our full story, by Jesse Feith.


10 a.m.

Most of Quebec’s COVID-19 mask mandates end Saturday

With the exception of public transport, health-care institutions and long-term care homes, it will no longer be mandatory to wear a face mask indoors in public buildings in Quebec as of 12:01 am Saturday.

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Read our full story.


10 a.m.

Vignettes: Five striking moments from Quebec’s pandemic journey

Since it was launched on March 11, 2020, this live blog has anchored the Montreal Gazette’s online coverage, documenting the pandemic’s ups and downs.

With mandatory masks – Quebec’s last pandemic measure – about to fall, I took a look back at five memorable moments: dark, bright, jarring, strange and surreal episodes the province lived through over the past 26 months.

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Read the full story.


9:55 a.m.

McMaster University wins court decision over student vaccine mandates

An Ontario court decision that vindicated a process that saw four devout Christian students kicked out of their university classes over vaccinations may provide a blueprint for future mandates, according to a health law expert.

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Read our full story.


9:45 a.m.

‘Not free from COVID’: Thousands pray at Portuguese shrine despite fears of new wave

Happy but cautious at being able to join a mass religious event began for the first time since the pandemic, thousands of Catholic faithful gathered at a sanctuary in Portugal on Friday, as authorities brace for a potential sixth wave of COVID-19.

Read our full story.


9:45 a.m.

China stocks rise as Shanghai says ‘victory’ against COVID getting closer

China stocks rose on Friday as Shanghai said it aimed to reach the zero-COVID level in areas outside its tightly regulated quarantine zones this month, while authorities’ pledges to support the economy also lifted sentiment.

Read our full story.


9:45 a.m.

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North Korea reports first COVID death as fever spreads ‘explosively’

At least one person confirmed to have COVID-19 has died in North Korea and hundreds of thousands have shown fever symptoms, state media said on Friday, offering hints at the potentially dire scale of the country’s first confirmed outbreak of the pandemic.

The data represents an unprecedented admission of an “explosive” outbreak in a country that had reported no previous confirmed cases since the pandemic began, and could mark a serious public health, economic and political crisis for the isolated regime.

Read our full story.


9:15 a.m.

Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, testing

vaccinations

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testing


8:30 a.m.

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