Sarah Rennie and Nadia Geukjian
In a video posted to the CISSSMO Facebook page, the organization’s CEO, Yves Masse, as well as Patrick Murphy-Lavallée, the associate director for social and rehabilitation services, stated no cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in any of the 11 CHSLDs in the region. “The situation is fragile and we remain vigilant,” said Masse, who noted the organization had implemented several measures, including instituting efforts to avoid staff members from changing work locations. Residents have also been introduced to different modes of communication with family and friends outside their residence using provided iPads or letters. Therapeutic activities such as art or bingo have been maintained to keep residents entertained. The CISSSMO is continuing to provide medical expertise and support, including intermediate and family resources, to the 84 private seniors’ residences, several of which are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.
Only 16 new cases in the Montérégie
Premier François Legault announced a further 97 deaths had been attributed to the coronavirus during his daily address Friday, bringing the total to date to 1,340. There are now 22,616 confirmed cases in the province, an increase of 778, with 1,460 people in hospital, including 227 being treated in intensive care. In the Montérégie, there are now 2,666 confirmed cases, with 232 being treated in hospital, including 39 in intensive care. The number of deaths in the region increased by 3 for a total of 74. Legault suggested the number of people in hospital is slightly elevated, since in some cases individuals have recovered enough to be discharged but cannot return to their residence.
The number of cases locally remained the same with 16 cases recorded in the Haut-Saint-Laurent local health network (LHN). There was an increase of 3 cases in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges LHN to 269, an increase of 2 cases in the Suroît LHN to 137, and an additional 6 confirmed cases in the Jardins-Roussillon, bringing the total to 390.
Legault asks all able to work to help
Legault compared the situation raging in seniors’ residences to a barn fire, where “everything burns rapidly.” He suggested the crisis has brought to light the importance of moving quickly on his governments election promise to improve the conditions in long-term care residences in the province, providing more space for residents as well as increasing staff. Right now, however, the health-care system just needs more available hands. Legault is now asking that anyone available to work full time consider signing up on the Je Contribue website.
Legault once gain promised the details of his plan to return Québec to “normal” would be made public next week. He noted it would be difficult to “deprogram” Québecers, who for the better part of six weeks had been encouraged to remain at home. He suggested that an end to confinement was important for the maintenance of mental health, for society and for the economy. Social distancing will still be with us for months, but “we need Québec to be reborn again.”
Rent relief for small businesses
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small businesses, charities and non-profits that will cover 75% of their rent from April to June. Under this plan, small businesses who pay less than $50,000 per month in rent, and who have temporarily ceased operations, will be responsible for only 25% of their rent for three months. The government will cover 50% and the property owner, the remaining 25%. Rent support for larger businesses will be announced later.
On re-opening the economy, Trudeau said, as he has said in his previous briefings, “It will not happen overnight, it has to be done one step at a time.” Trudeau will be meeting with first ministers later today to talk about re-opening parts of the economy. He says there “needs to be coordination at the national level.” He reaffirmed the need for every individual to “remain vigilant and to follow the recommendations of the experts.”