The Gleaner
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COVID-19 – April 20: Cases rise in the Haut-Saint-Laurent; non urgent medical care on hold

Sarah Rennie and Nadia Geukjian

Both Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier François Legault began their daily COVID-19 briefings by offering their sincere condolences to the families and friends of the 19 victims of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia. “Canada is mourning with you,” said Trudeau. “This should never have happened. Violence of any kind has no place in our country.” For Canadians wanting to support grieving families in Nova Scotia, a virtual vigil will be held at 7 pm Friday on the Facebook account “Colchester supporting our community.”

The Prime Minister went on to thank all first responders: paramedics, doctors, nurses, firefighters and policemen; who have taken such a heavy responsibility and burden on themselves during the current pandemic. “Thank you for your service – for everything you are doing.”
Trudeau ended his briefing with a message for kids all across the country: “The world may seem like a mean and ugly place right now, but there’s a whole lot of good in the world too. Just look around.” He assured everyone that the government is present for all Canadians and that, “we’ll get through this together. I promise.”

Schools closed for at least two more weeks

Premier François Legault extended his thoughts to the people of Nova Scotia before turning to address the national emergency playing out in seniors’ residences and CHSLDs in the province. “My goal is to stabilize the situation in every affected residence,” he said. In order to do so, he is placing all non-urgent medical care in hospitals on hold for another two weeks so doctors and nurses can be transferred to work full time in residences to help make up a shortage of 2,000 workers in the network. He suggested doctors and nurses from areas that are less affected by the virus could come to Montreal to help, noting those who came to work in residences outside their home area would be housed in hotels for the two-week period.

In answering questions about whether students would be returning to schools by May 4, the Premier would not commit to a date but promised a minimum of two weeks’ notice. One reported persisted in asking Legault to offer a timeline for reopening schools, referencing the English Montreal School Board Parents’ Committee, which issued a statement today strongly suggesting the province close schools until September, but the Premier would only say he was talking with public health officials and that there was no plan in the short term to open schools. The Premier did however slip in the suggestion that daycares might open sooner.

Cases continue to rise locally

There are now 15 cases in the Haut-Saint-Laurent local health network (LHN), which is an increase of two over the past 24 hours. The numbers have also increased in the surrounding area, with 128 cases in the Suroît LHN, 244 cases in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges LHN, and 357 in the Jardins-Roussillon LHN. The number of confirmed cases in the Montérégie increased by 224 over the past 24 hours for a total of 2,366. There have now been 55 deaths in the region attributed to the virus.

Across the province, the numbers increased as well with an additional 962 confirmed cases to bring the total number to 19,319. Of those, 3,847 are considered to have been cured of the virus, while 1,169 have been hospitalized. Of those being treated in hospital, 198 are in intensive care. The total number of deaths in the province due to COVID-19 is now 939, which is an increase of 62 from yesterday.

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