Estrie going red Thursday

By Gordon Lambie
Estrie going red Thursday

The Estrie administrative region was quietly upgraded to Quebec’s highest COVID-19 alert level on Monday, with the information first appearing on government websites over the course of the afternoon, followed by a 4 p.m. press release. On the government’s map of COVID-19 alert levels by region, the entire Estrie is now listed as red, with new measures coming into effect on November 12, at 12:01 a.m. and measures concerning schools and sports coming into force on November 13.
The official announcement underlined the fact that the situation remains under control in many areas, but argued in favour of tightened restrictions given the rise in new cases in recent days.
The region reported 54 new cases and one new death on Monday after a record 90 new cases on Sunday, and this after a week of seeing numbers steadily near or above the 40-case mark. Region health director Dr. Alain Poirier’s usual weekly update on the state of infections in the region was cancelled less than a half an hour before it was to take place, although information on the outbreaks and municipalities under observation was still published.
The new infections were concentrated in the Haute-Yamaska, Des Sources, and La Pommeraie, and Sherbrooke sectors, although all areas except for Coaticook saw an increase of at least one new case. The CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS does not provide exact figures for municipalities in the region that have five or fewer active cases, but based on Sunday’s numbers there were more than 40 across all MRCs that have somewhere from one to five cases. The data do specifically note eight active cases in Cowansville, 11 in Farnham, six in Bromont, 77 in Granby, 106 in Sherbrooke, 12 in Windsor, 67 in Asbestos, 13 in Danville, six in Weedon, 12 in Frontenac and 44 in Lac Mégantic.
In terms of specific outbreaks, four new schools and a sports centre were added to the list of locations under observation on Monday, although all of these had fewer than five cases.
As of Monday afternoon there were 20 people hospitalized for reasons related to COVID-19 in the region, three of whom were in intensive care.
Contrary to what has been the case for other regions being upgraded to red alerts, there had been no official press conference on the subject as of Press time Monday. During an afternoon update on the situation in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, Health Minister Christian Dubé shared that he was “preoccupied” by the situation in the region but said, at the time, that the question of changing alert status was still under discussion.
“There are decisions to be made,” Dubé said, putting faith in the experience and expertise of regional public health director Dr. Alain Poirier in discussion with the provincial public health team.
The Sherbrooke Police, meanwhile, reported having to break up two significant illegal gatherings on the weekend. The first one was very early Saturday morning on Belvedere Street South where 16 of 25 participants were identified and 13 fines of $1,546 were handed out. The second was at the Microdistillerie bar on Meadow Street downtown on Saturday night, where officers reported that capacity was surpassed by more than 60 people and social distancing and mask measures were not being enforced. The SPS report said that lights were flashed when the police arrived and bar patrons fled out service doors.

The number of new cases across Quebec increased by 1,169 on Monday alongside the news of 15 new deaths. The number of hospitalizations increased by 13 to 540, while the number of people in intensive care dropped by one, for a total of 76.

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