Next days and weeks critical, ­Legault says

By Matthew McCully

During his daily COVID-19 briefing, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said the province may soon see a light at the end of the tunnel, but remaining vigilant with social distancing for the coming weeks is critical. “We must continue to do everything we can,” Legault said, “We can’t give up.”
The number of deaths in Quebec because of COVID-19 is now 121, with 27 new deaths in the last day. The province now has 8,580 confirmed cases, up 527 from yesterday. Of those, 548 are in the Estrie region.
Legault said the number of hospitalizations only increased by eight in the past day for a total of 533 in the province, a positive sign according to the premier. Among those, 164 are in intensive care, up 10 from the day before.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable, Legault said. The province has enough gloves for 14 days, enough N-95 masks for the next 13 days, and enough surgical masks for the next 10 days. The lowest supply is gowns. There are enough for the next six days, Legault said. The province is exploring the use of washable gowns that can be reused. Legault said there is still the possibility of having supply needs met by Quebec businesses, but that is still a few weeks away. Answering to concerns raised by families expecting a baby in the near future, Legault explained the only hospital that will not allow partners in the delivery room is the Jewish General in Montreal. That decision was made based on the high number of cases there. Legault said in other hospitals across the province, partners are allowed in the room during delivery.
During the briefing, Horacio Arruda, Quebec director of National Public Health addressed the ongoing debate about masks. According to Arruda, nothing beats staying home and washing your hands. “It can be a tool to use instead of coughing into your sleeve or a tissue,” Arruda said, but masks, homemade or otherwise, don’t replace other measures, and would serve to protect people in the vicinity of someone infected, not the person wearing the mask.  It can create a false sense of security, the public health director explained. People could wear a mask and feel safe, but then touch it and then touch their face, which could transmit the virus. In some situations where social distancing is a challenge like grocery stores, Arruda said a mask could be helpful, but not nearly as effective as staying home.
During the briefing Legault announced a new funding in support of businesses as the government positions itself for restarting the economy in the coming weeks.

Published in the Tuesday, April 7 edition of The Record.


Share this article