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Reporter debrief: As omicron surges in Quebec, restrictions — including curfews — return

An empty street in Montreal
Denis Tangney Jr.
Quebec is taking measures to slow the spread of COVID as omicron surges in the province.

Quebec hit a COVID case record on New Year’s Day, with more than 17,000 reported cases. And with nearly 200 new hospitalizations reported Tuesday, the province is now facing a hospital bed shortage.

CBC Montreal reporter Kate McKenna told Vermont Edition on Tuesday that the situation in hospitals is dire.

"So, what that will probably mean is more surgeries will be canceled and more health care workers will be moved around and it will create chaos within the hospital system, even further chaos than they’re already experiencing," she said. "I don’t mean to sound so grim, but things aren’t really great here right now."

Rural communities are facing the most pressure, as already-limited resources are further strained by soaring cases. Quebec is taking measures to slow the spread of the virus including closing some retail stores, limiting gathering sizes and imposing and a 10 p.m. nightly curfew.

Broadcast live on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Mikaela Lefrak joined Vermont Public in 2021 as co-host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Originally from Delaware, Matt moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, radio producer, talk show host, and news director. His reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he was a producer for television news and NPR member station WGCU for their daily radio show, Gulf Coast Live. He joined Vermont Public in October 2017 as producer of Vermont Edition.
Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.