COVID-19 cases in Quebec skyrocket to 4,571 as Omicron variant takes hold |

Quebec is reporting 4,571 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Monday, as new measures aimed to limit the spread of the Omicron variant come into effect.

Monday’s total smashes the old one-day record for new cases in Quebec by 725. On Sunday, the province had set a new daily record of 3,846 cases.

While Quebec has only confirmed 69 cases linked to the Omicron variant, there are 519 suspected cases.

The real number is likely higher but health officials said Monday testing centres were overwhelmed.

Later on Monday, the province announced newer restrictions, with gyms, bars and schools now closing due to the rising number of cases.

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Last week, the government backtracked on increasing the maximum gathering limit for informal indoor gatherings to 20 over Christmas, maintaining the limit at 10 people.

Click to play video: 'Thousand flock to testing sites as province sets daily COVID-19 record'

Thousand flock to testing sites as province sets daily COVID-19 record

Thousand flock to testing sites as province sets daily COVID-19 record

Quebec Premier François Legault announced the first list of new restrictions last week amid a surge in cases and modelling predictions that showed an already fragile health system could be overwhelmed in a matter of weeks.

Monday’s newest restrictions came during a press briefing with Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé.

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With Monday’s new numbers, hospitalizations increased by 21 over the previous day with 49 new patients admitted and 28 discharged. Of the 397 pandemic-related hospitalizations, 82 are in intensive care for an increase of three.

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In addition to the measures aimed at reducing contacts, Quebec is accelerating its rollout of third dose booster shots. As of Monday, Quebecers aged 65 and over can book an appointment for a third dose.

Dubé said the Clic Santé booking website had been experiencing problems earlier in the day on Monday as Quebecers scrambled for an appointment.

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Those issues have since been resolved.

In a message on Twitter, Dubé thanked people for their patience and also their enthusiasm for getting their third dose.

“Since this morning, it’s 83,000 Quebecers who have booked an appointment,” he said.

To date, 84,1 per cent of the population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Click to play video: 'Quebecers prepare for new COVID-19 restrictions'

Quebecers prepare for new COVID-19 restrictions

Quebecers prepare for new COVID-19 restrictions

Since the start of the health crisis, the province has recorded 490,294 infections, 452,509 recoveries and 11,642 deaths, bringing the number of active cases to 26,143.

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— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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