MONTREAL - Quebec civil servants won't be returning to work at the office on Oct. 4 as planned due to the current pandemic situation, the provincial government announced Monday.

Treasury Board Chair Sonia LeBel said in statement that a new date will be announced once the pandemic situation allows it.

"The epidemiological situation prompts us to postpone the return to the workplace once again," LeBel said. As a responsible employer, the health and safety of public service employees are of paramount importance."

Quebec had asked companies across the province on Aug. 25 to reconsider sending employees back to offices until the COVID-19 situation in the province improves.

At the time, Quebec had also delayed a return for all civil servants to at least Oct. 4 instead of Sept. 7, just after Labour Day. The deferral was due to numerous workplace outbreaks during previous waves.

According to the province's public health institute, Quebec has 520 active outbreaks and 43.4 per cent are taking in workplaces.

The province reported 679 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and one additional death attributed to the virus.

Health authorities said hospitalizations rose by three to 280, while the number of patients in intensive care climbed by five to 92.

The Health Department said of the latest reported infections, 457 were among people who were either unvaccinated or who had only received a first dose within the past two weeks.

The province administered 8,489 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday.

According to the province's public health institute, about 88.9 per cent of Quebecers aged 12 and older have received at least one dose, while 84.4 per cent are considered adequately vaccinated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 20, 2021.

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