Quebec has 4,400 COVID-19 cases in long-term care centres

By Matthew McCully

According to Quebec Premier Francois Legault, with 4,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities, more deaths are inevitable in the province in the coming days and weeks. “We have to be realistic,” he said.
There were 98 new deaths in the past day bringing the total in the province to 1,859.
Of those, Legault said 92 were from long-term care centre residents. The other six deaths were in the general population.
There are 280 CHSLDs and seniors’ residences in Quebec grappling with COVID-19, just over 10 per cent of the province’s 2,600 homes for facilities for seniors.
There were 944 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Quebec in the last day, bringing the total to 27,538.
Of those, 835 are in the Estrie region with concentrations in Sherbrooke (274), Granby (127), Magog (61) and Danville (36). Other municipalities with more than 10 confirmed cases include Bromont (29), Racine (28), Farnham (23), Brigham (15), Shefford (13) and East Angus (12).
Of the municipalities served by the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS, 55 have no ­reported cases of COVID-19, 45 have five or less confirmed cases, and nine towns have between six and 10 cases of the virus.
There are 1,684 hospitalizations related to COVID-19, up 36 from the day before, and 214 of those in hospital are in intensive care, a decrease of eight.
According to Legault, the majority of hospitalizations are in the greater Montreal area. He added there is a possible outbreak situation in Montreal north that is being investigated at the moment.
The plan to reopen elementary schools and certain business sectors will include an increase in testing, Legault said.
So far, 214,000 Quebecers have been tested for COVID-19 representing 25,000 tests per million residents, higher than most other countries and states.
In the coming weeks, Legault said the province will increase testing from around 6,000 people per day to 14,500 people.
As the province readies schools and businesses for gradual reopening in the next two weeks, Legault said the health network is still dealing with labour shortages and challenges with long-term care.
There are presently 10,500 health care workers absent from the network. Legault added that those still at work are also due for a much-needed break as soon as possible.
So far 7,200 people have answered the call for help through the Je Contribue website. Also 1,200 students and teachers are currently helping in health and long-term care facilities. The Canadian government sent 241 soldiers to help in long-term care facilities and Legault said an additional 276 are on the way.
During yesterday’s COVID-19 briefing, Legault insisted the plan to reopen elementary schools and businesses is based on recommendations from the public health department and the idea that outside the world of elder care facilities the situation in the rest of the province is stable. Legault added the recommendations of the public health department are independent and not influenced by political or economic motivations.
The premier said the situation is being monitored closely in Montreal and the rest of the province on a daily basis. If the situation deteriorates, Legault said the plan will be revised.
In the meantime, Legault said the reopening plan and relaxing of some travel bans within regions doesn’t mean social distancing is no longer required.
“Gatherings are still forbidden,” Legault said. “It’s not time to stop our efforts, we need to be more disciplined than ever.”
Public Health Director Horacio Arruda explained that while it seems contradictory to allow groupings of students in classrooms and workers on factory floors while neighbours can’t get together for a barbecue, if there were an infection in a school or business, it would be much easier to trace than a random grouping of people.

Published in the Friday, May 1 edition of The Record.


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