Three Quebec regions move to highest COVID-19 alert level

Record Staff

In a late afternoon press conference Tuesday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced that Greater Montreal, Quebec City and the Chaudière-Appalaches regions will move into the COVID-19 red alert level as of Midnight on Wednesday.
The alert level will remain in effect for 28 days. During that time, bars, museums, restaurant dining rooms and movie theatres will be closed, and religious gatherings including weddings and funerals will be limited to 25 people.
Also, no gatherings in private residences are permitted for the month.
Hotels, businesses and schools, however, can remain open, but outdoor gatherings are only permitted where a two-metre distance can be maintained, and in the event of protests or demonstrations, attendees must wear a mask, Legault said.
The situation in Estrie
Regional public health director Dr. Alain Poirier reported another 28 cases in the Estrie region on Monday alongside the news that another of the residents at the Lambton long term care home has died. Although the number of hospitalizations in the region remains low at three (with no one in intensive care,) Poirier noted that there is a noticeable upward trend across all regions of Quebec at the moment.
The province reported an additional 750 positive cases on Monday, bringing the total number of people infected to 72,651. The number of recorded deaths increase by one to 5,826. The number of hospitalizations decreased by 4 compared to the previous day, for a cumulative total of 212. Among these, the number of people in intensive care decreased by four, for a total of 37.
Poirier said that there are currently 23 active outbreaks across the territory, including the ongoing situation in Lambton, where an additional two cases were confirmed, and that of the Granby hospital, where another 13 cases were confirmed in three separate outbreaks. While the situation in most areas under observation remained stable, a food production company in the Haute-Yamaska also picked up an additional nine cases for a total of 31.
Dr. Vincent Masse, a specialist in microbiology and infection with the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS added that the Youville and Argyll long-term care facilities are currently considered to be on outbreak-watch as a single case has been noted in both facilities among either the staff or residents.
Dr. Stephane Tremblay, president and executive director of the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS, said that an action plan is currently underway to improve service offering in the region. Over the coming weeks he said that more testing centres will be added in both fixed locations and mobile formats, although he stressed the fact that these additional measures are challenging to establish because of the needs in terms of personnel. In the mean time he said that measures are being taken to help reduce wait times and ensure that people waiting to get tested can do so in a way that is sheltered from the elements.
Poirier, meanwhile, encouraged people to only get tested if they have been told to do so by public health because of a possible contact, if they have symptoms, or if the self-evaluation tool encouraged them to do so. Although testing is important, he said that overloading the system with asymptomatic people takes resources away from testing the people who need it the most.
“Testing is not the solution: we are the solution,” he said, pointing out that the most important measures to take are to self-isolate if you have been in contact with someone who is COVID positive, to wear a mask, and respect social distancing.

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