COVID-19 update – New variant arrives in Canada; Chapeau school re-opens; 5yrs+ vaccinations begin


Allyson Beauregard

QUEBEC – On November 29, two cases of the new Covid variant, named omicron, were found in travellers arriving in Ottawa. Even though there are no similar cases reported in the Outaouais, officials stress that the population should continue to follow Covid protocols, and get vaccinated as the best protection against the disease. On November 19, Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old, claiming it’s more than 90% effective; the first doses arrived in the country on November 21. The children’s vaccine is a smaller dose than given to adults.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said the province is aiming to offer each child a first dose before Christmas, administered in both schools (began November 29) and vaccination centers (began November 24) with parental permission. In the first day appointments were available, over 80,000 appointments were made; 650,000 children are eligible province-wide, with 33,000 in the Outaouais.
For now, Dubé said there are no plans to apply vaccination passport rules to this age group.
Appointments can be booked via the ClicSante website, with a second dose administered at least 8 weeks after the first.
DWKS re-opens; cases at Poupore and St. John’s
With 12 confirmed cases, Dr. Wilbert Keon Elementary School in L’Isle-aux-Allumettes was closed from November 17 to 26; another case was confirmed shortly after the closure. Two screening clinics were offered on November 19 and 26 and students pursued distance education; the school
re-opened on November 29. The high school remained open with extra measures in place given that no cases were identified there.
On November 23, one case was confirmed at École Poupore in Fort-Coulonge and another at St. John’s Elementary in Campbell’s Bay on November 24. All parents were advised as well as any close contacts.
Holiday plans up in airIn a press conference on November 23, Premier Francois Legault said it’s too early to announce if restrictions on gatherings will be lifted for the holidays because he doesn’t want to announce something and then have to backtrack, which was the case last year. He encouraged residents to follow private residence gathering rules – maximum of 10 people – over the coming weeks in order to have a better chance of possibly seeing some restrictions lifted.