Mask ‘em if you got ‘em, Legault says

By Matthew McCully

Quebec Premier Francois Legault walked into Tuesday’s COVID-19 press briefing modeling a mask and recommending all Quebecers start wearing one when out in public, especially in places where two metres of social distancing can’t be maintained.
Legault stressed that keeping a distance and frequent hand washing are still the most important safety measures. Wearing a mask is added protection not for the wearer of the mask, but for the people around them.
“The virus won’t leave Quebec for a long time, we’ll have to learn to live with it,” Legault said. “A great way to reduce contagion is to wear a mask.”
According to the premier, so far, the province has spent $3 billion in the health sector and $5 billion in economic support, and the province is looking at a $12-15 billion deficit in the coming year due to COVID-19.
The province reported 118 new deaths (113 from the Greater Montreal area) for a total of 3,131 deaths in Quebec.
The province has 39, 225 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up 756 from yesterday. There are 898 cases in the Estrie region, two more than the day before.
There are 1,841 patients in hospital due to COVID-19, 186 of which are in intensive care.
According to Legault, there are over 10,000 recoveries from the virus in the province.
During question period the premier was asked what the policy was for Quebecers wanting to take advantage of the upcoming long weekend to head to the country and open up their cottages.
Public Health Director Horacio Arruda said if possible, people should delay non-essential travel to other areas. If they must, he suggested they shop for all provisions in their own neighbourhood and not visit stores and businesses in other areas while at the cottage.
During the briefing, Arruda offered an apology for his poorly timed dance moves. He had been asked by Quebec rapper Rod le Stod to submit a video of himself dancing to the rapper’s song. The ‘Ode to Arruda’ was seen by many as inappropriate in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Intended to be used as a fundraiser, the Montreal youth organization that was supposed to benefit dissociated itself from the project.

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