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

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

Ma & Paws Pet Supplies. Facebook/ Ma & Paws Pet Supplies.
Rimbey residents petition for dog park

Request for approval of dog park will be brought up at Tuesday Oct. 27 Town Council meeting.

The future site of the Rimbey Travel Centre. Web photo
New Rimbey development aims to capitalize on highway traffic

Phase I of the Rimbey Travel Centre would be along Hwy. 20, if approved

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

soup
Rimbey FCSS to introduce the Cultural Community Kitchen

The Cultural Community Kitchen sessions will be held at the Rimbey Co-op

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read