Quebec premier tests positive for COVID-19, says he feels fine

Quebec Premier François Legault has tested positive for COVID-19 but is doing well, he announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

“This afternoon I started experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. I took a test and received a positive result,” he tweeted.

The Prime Minister said he would continue to work remotely for the next five days, in accordance with public health guidelines.

“We see it with the increase in cases lately: the virus is present in Quebec,” Legault said on Twitter. “Let’s continue to be careful. We will get through this together!

Legault’s announcement comes just as Quebec braces for a potential spike in new cases and hospitalizations.

Quebec’s acting director of public health, Dr. Luc Boileau, said Wednesday that a new round of vaccinations will begin next week for some of the province’s most vulnerable, and the mask mandate will remain in effect until in mid-April, as planned.

Residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes will be first on the list to get another booster by early next week, Boileau said.

Any Quebecer aged 80 and over will also have access to the new dose, he said, as will those who rely on home care through the public health care system.

Boileau said cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again and the risk of catching and transmitting the virus remains high.

“I ask you all to be careful,” Boileau said, describing Omicron’s BA.2 sub-variant as a “game changer.”

The subvariant is 30 to 50 percent more contagious than Omicron, he said, and that’s why cases are rising everywhere.

The number of hospitalizations increased by 28 to 1,062 in the past 24 hours, according to Public Health Quebec.

Also in the past 24 hours, Quebec recorded 2,295 new cases, which is considered an underestimate, since PCR testing of the general public was stopped in early January.

Testing remains available for people living in high-risk settings such as hospitals, long-term care homes, detention centers and homeless shelters.