The Gleaner
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Omicron remains quite present in the Valley

Restaurant dining rooms across the region have reopened for the first time this year as public health measures across the province began to be lifted last week. Extra-curricular activities and sports and artistic activities outside of school for those under the age of 18 have restarted, and as of Monday, churches, theatres and performance venues were able to open as well. Gyms and spas will be permitted to open as of February 14, as will artistic activities and classes for adults in groups of 25 people or less.

As of press time, Premier François Legault had stopped short of announcing any further plans to reopen sectors still hard hit by forced closures, suggesting any additional lifting of restrictions would depend on improved vaccination rates.

Cases counts remain high in the region

According to the government’s list of outbreaks in the province’s CHSLDs (Centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée) and private long-term care residences, the outbreak at the Centre d’Hébergement du Comté de Huntingdon (Huntingdon Residential and Long-term Care Centre) has come under control with just one case remaining on each of the first and second floors. All 14 residents at the La Maison de la Renaissance residence in Huntingdon have been diagnosed with the virus, while the outbreaks at both the Résidence Riviera and the Résidence Karen in Huntingdon have now ended.

The Barrie Memorial Hospital continues to treat patients with COVID-19. As of Feb. 6, there were six individuals hospitalized with the virus in Ormstown. There are 44 patients being cared for at the Suroît Hospital in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, including one individual in intensive care, while 33 people have been hospitalized at the Anna Laberge Hospital in Chateauguay, with one patient in the ICU there as well.

According to the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec (INSPQ), at least 141 people tested positive in the Haut-Saint-Laurent local health network (LHN) in the 24 hours prior to February 7. The INSPQ also reported a total of 324 cases in the Suroît LHN, 579 cases in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges LHN, and 720 in the Jardins-Roussillon LHN. These statistics are an underrepresentation of the virus’s spread, however, as the numbers reflect only those eligible for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing according to the government’s limited screening strategy. Despite this, the infection rate in the Haut-Saint-Laurent LHN is the highest in the Montérégie at 562.7 per 100,000 individuals, which suggests the virus continues to circulate quite widely in the area.

According to the Direction de Santé Publique de la Montérégie, just over 80 per cent of those above the age of 12 have received a single dose in the area, while 74.6 per cent are double vaccinated. Only 38.2 per cent have rolled up a sleeve for a booster shot, which is the lowest percentage in the Montérégie.

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