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COVID-19: Campgrounds to reopen June 1, mobile testing unit in Valleyfield

The Splash pad in Huntingdon was up and running on Wednesday afternoon, allowing local families to cool down while temperatures hovered in the low 40s with the humidex. (PHOTO Sarah Rennie)

Megan L’Heureux

Public water games and splash pads opened across the Montérégie to allow citizens to cool down and avoid any negative health effects caused by the heatwave. The regional public health authority emphasized the importance of respecting physical distancing measures while using these facilities to limit the risk of transmitting the virus.

As of Wednesday, there were 49,139 confirmed cases in Quebec, a 24-hour increase of 541 new cases. There are now 1,378 people being treated in hospital, including 184 in intensive care. An additional 89 deaths related to COVID-19 were reported, bringing the total to 4,228. In the Montérégie area, 6,401 cases have been confirmed. A total of 364 individuals in the region have lost their lives. There are 49 cases in the Haut-Saint-Laurent local health network (LHN), 381 cases in the Suroît LHN, 593 in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges LHN, and 801 confirmed cases in the Jardins-Roussillon LHN.

Reopening of the Quebec tourism industry

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Quebec Minister of Tourism Caroline Proulx announced the first phase of the deconfinement process for the tourism sector. As of June 1, Quebecers will be able to access campgrounds and marinas across the province, as well as accommodations in the SEPAQ network. Public health officers will be monitoring many factors involving these authorizations, including the respect of hygiene directives and physical distancing measures. The news that campgrounds would be reopening this season was met with immediate concern by many across the Valley concerned that an influx of campers from outside the immediate area could spark an outbreak of the virus. As one local doctor suggested in a post on social media, “so basically we just spent the last several months confining ourselves for nothing… with a huge influx of people from a hot zone into a cold zone what do you think will happen?”

Several local campgrounds announced they would be opening as of June 1, however Lac des Pins, which is proving to be the most controversial with its large number of sites and close proximity to Ormstown-based services, announced that only seasonal campers wishing to access their sites will be admitted on that date. The campground, which is now the second largest of its kind in Quebec, will reopen officially on June 12, as the owners suggest they require some time to be able to prepare to operate with all of the social distancing measures in place.

Canadian military report on Quebec senior residences

After a period of help offered by more than 1,000 military personnel in seniors’ residences in Quebec, a report was made public Wednesday morning regarding the current conditions in 25 CHSLDs where the Canadian military has been assisting. The report brought forth many concerns such as staffing shortages, a lack of personal protective equipment, as well as improper divisions between “hot” and “cold” COVID-19 zones in the residences. During Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s daily address, he commented on the need for an improved senior care system across Canada, suggesting the federal government is ready to support the provinces while respecting jurisdiction. More than 60% of deaths in Quebec have been residents in CHSLDs, a tragic situation which needs immediate attention; “they raised us, they built this country, we need to do better,” said Trudeau.

Premier François Legault has asked the Canadian military to continue their help in the CHSLDs until September 15. The provincial government also announced a large-scale campaign to recruit at least 10,000 orderlies across Quebec in an attempt to address staffing shortages in CHSLDs. Between 40-60 professional training centers will be offering a paid three-month training program from mid-June to mid-September, with full time work at a wage of $26/hour available after completion.

COVID-19 mobile testing unit in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield

A new COVID-19 mobile screening site will be established in the parking lot of the Raphaël-Barrette building Thursday May 28 and Friday May 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. located at 222, rue Alphonse-Desjardins, in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. Individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus can be tested free of charge and without an appointment at the site. The testing unit will also be available in another area of Valleyfield on June 4 and 5. If testing is needed outside of these dates, individuals can call 1-877-644-4545 to set up an appointment.

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