Quebec raises alert levels in large cities, Ontario declares second COVID-19 wave

Both provinces reported at least 700 new cases

Quebec moved its most populous regions to a maximum alert-level on Monday and Ontario declared itself in the grips of a second COVID-19 wave as both provinces grappled with rising caseloads.

Premier Francois Legault said the greater Montreal and Quebec City areas, along with the Chaudiere-Appalaches region south of the provincial capital, will enter the red alert level on Oct. 1. For the next 28 days, bars, restaurant dining areas, cinemas and other venues in those regions will be closed, he said.

“The situation has become critical,” Legault told reporters, as the province reported 750 new COVID-19 cases Monday. “The number of cases is rising. If we don’t want our hospitals to be submerged and if we want to limit the number of deaths, we must act strongly right now.”

The lockdowns don’t apply to the retail sector or to any other businesses, Legault said: “We want to make sure mothers and fathers can still make a living.”

Legault said schools will remain open, noting that about one per cent of the province’s schoolchildren are at home after outbreaks in their schools. If Quebecers follow the health directives, Legault added, he is optimistic that schools will not have to be shut.

Also in the three red zones, gatherings in private residences are no longer permitted.

Earlier Monday, Premier Doug Ford said the 700 new cases reported in Ontario — the highest daily increase since the start of the health crisis — were “deeply concerning” and warned this round of the pandemic could hit harder than the first.

“We know that this wave will be more complicated, more complex,” he said, again entreating residents to follow public health guidelines meant to help contain the spread of the virus.

The public’s willingness to adhere to those guidelines will determine if this is “a wave or a tsunami,” he said.

Most of the new cases in Ontario are in the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa.

Big cities are also proving to be hot spots in Quebec, where new cases of COVID-19 have spiked in recent days.

Aside from the 750 new COVID-19 cases reported Monday, health authorities reported one additional death linked to the virus. On Sunday, Quebec recorded 896 new cases of COVID-19 — its highest single-day jump in months.

Officials in both provinces have hinted at the possibility of additional restrictions in the areas experiencing a surge in cases but suggested there would not be a return to the widespread lockdowns imposed earlier this year.

While Ford said Monday that “everything is on the table” when it comes to flattening this second curve, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said the province would take a “surgical” approach in addressing mounting cases in a few regions.

Ontario and Quebec have been the hardest hit by COVID-19, representing close to 80 per cent of all cases in Canada.

Manitoba reported 39 new cases on Monday – 22 of them in Winnipeg, which has recently seen a spike in cases. The province has also recorded its 20th death linked to the virus.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s efforts to fast-track its newest COVID-19 economic recovery package stirred outrage from the opposition, who argued the Liberals forced the issue by proroguing Parliament last month.

The proposed package would establish more flexibility to qualify for employment insurance and set up three new benefits for Canadians who won’t qualify for EI but are still grappling with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new program aims to fill the gap left by the end of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which took effect in the spring and expired over the weekend.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pleaded with the public to respect public health guidelines, as Canada’s top doctor said the country is “at a crossroads” when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government also warned last week that short-term lockdowns may be necessary to prevent small clusters of cases from turning into large outbreaks.

READ MORE: Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusOntarioQuebec

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A truck crosses the rail line on Vye Road at the site of a promised overpass that is now set to be built. File photo
Budget for Abbotsford highway and overpass project now $20 million higher than first announced

Budget for Highway 11 widening and Vye Road overpass to be set at $47 million

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution, could be in U.S.

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

web
Mission’s first cannabis store to open doors next week

Government-run BC Cannabis Store to open Nov. 4 at 31956 Lougheed Highway

The City of Chilliwack says there’s too much spitting going on at the Sardis Sports Complex. (City of Chilliwack photo)
Too much spitting a problem at Chilliwack’s Sardis Sports Complex

The City of Chilliwack is asking the minor hockey community to ease up on expectorating

Record-low returns of salmon have been recorded on the Fraser River in recent years. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
Time for Indigenous-led salmon strategy on the Lower Fraser, says Alliance

‘Closures of First Nations, commercial and recreational salmon fishing’ have huge impact: LFFA

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
Hay bales can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Straw bales used for Halloween decor can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society

Langley animal facility said they are always need in of fresh bedding

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo: vancouversymphony.ca)
50/50 lotto players buck up for Metro Vancouver musicians hit hard by COVID

‘Rapidly growing jackpot’ for VSO’s 50/50 draw as they go online with TheConcertHall.ca

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read