Calling all health ­professionals

By Matthew McCully

Quebec Premier Francois Legault has put out a call to all health professionals to help fill the labour shortage in long term care facilities, the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Legault is also lifting the visitation restrictions at seniors’ residences for experienced caregivers so that they can tend to loved ones. Citing a longstanding shortage for PABs in the health network, Legault said the situation has deteriorated in recent weeks. There are currently 1,250 employees currently missing for various reasons, he said. Legault went so far as to refer to the 2,600 teaching professionals in the province with training in the health sector, pointing out they are already being paid, and adding they would be eligible for the bonus pay available to other health network employees.
“We need you,” Legault said, referring to all people in the province with medical training, including doctors, nurses, specialists, and even recent retirees with experience.
As for opening the door to caregivers, Quebec Public Health Director Horacio Arruda explained the situation applies exclusively to CHSLDs where the population is most vulnerable and requires the highest level of care, and only experienced caregivers who are already known in the residences will be allowed to enter. “This is voluntary,” Arruda said, explaining no one is required to come back. “This is not for family and visitors,” Arruda said. Only person for one patient will be allowed in, and they will need to agree to certain terms to ensure the safety of the residents and staff.
Arruda said CHSLDs will spend the next day preparing facilities. The integration of select caregivers will begin Thursday, he said. In the interest of transparency, Legault said the list of seniors’ residences under surveillance by the government will be published daily. He has yet to mention when or where it will be published.
Of the 2,600 that were inspected, Legault said there were 41 in a more critical state and the government is keeping a close eye.
Quebec now has 14,248 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 691 since the day before. Of those, 721 are in the Estrie region.
The pandemic has resulted in 435 deaths in the province to date, 75 in the last day. There are currently 936 hospitalizations because of the virus, 230 of which are in intensive care. According to the Quebec Public Health Institute website, there are 2,146 confirmed recoveries.

Published in the Wednesday, April 15 edition of The Record.


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