The Quebec government is set to announce tighter health measures for schools, gyms and sports teams in the province’s COVID-19 red zones Monday at 1 p.m. local time.
Education minister Jean-François Roberge, together with higher education minister Danielle McCann, and junior education minister Isabelle Charest will announce the new health measures in a news conference. Dr. Richard Masse, the province’s public health strategic advisor will also be present to answer questions.
According to Radio-Canada, the stricter measures will include making wearing masks mandatory in school yards, and reducing class sizes for some students in grades 10 and 11. It is expected that the officials will announce the closure of gyms and a ban on team sports.
Quebec reported more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases for three days straight from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3, with an average of four deaths per day. As of Saturday, 334 people were reported hospitalized. An average of slightly over 28,000 tests are performed between Oct. 1 and Oct. 2.
In terms of the COVID-19 situation in schools, Quebec reported a total of 2,141 cases across 785 schools since the start of the school year on Sept. 28. Of the schools, most cases came from the public schools, with private schools reporting several hundreds.
Quebec’s current measures mandate students in grade 5 and above to wear masks when going outside of classrooms, in common areas, and when spending time with students who don’t belong to their class. Students below grade 5 are not required to wear masks.
As of Oct. 5, the Quebec government identifies these areas to be red zones: Laval and Montreal, some territories within Laurentides, Lanaudiere, Chaudiere-Appalaches, Capital-Nationale, Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Montérégie.
While infection rates have increased with the resumption of school, children are at statistically minimal risk. Health Canada records three deaths in Canada in the 0-19 age group over the course of the pandemic but records a 0.0 percent of total deaths for this age category.
There have been 10 COVID-linked deaths in the 20-29 age group, which Health Canada marks as .1 percent of total deaths.
The bulk of COVID-linked deaths are among those 60 and up, accounting for 96.7 percent, with those 80 years and above accounting for 71 percent of deaths.