During the first press conference since the long weekend, Premier François Legault announced the entire Montérégie region would be moving to Level 4 maximum alert, or the red zone, as of Friday. This means there are new guidelines to follow. Residents of the Montérégie are no longer allowed to have guests from a different address in their homes. Exemptions include informal caregivers, labour for planned work, individuals offering services, and, for those living alone, a single visitor from another address, with a recommendation of maintaining one particular person as the visitor for a given household rather than alternating between multiple people. Private gatherings are prohibited, as are public gatherings, with the exception of religious worship and funerals with a maximum of 25 people. Bars will be closed, along with restaurant’s dining rooms, though take-out and drive through services can continue at the latter. These restrictions will come into place on Friday, October 16. The full list of closures and exemptions can be consulted at the Quebec Health website at https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/progressive-regional-alert-and-intervention-system/level-4-maximum-alert-red/
The Montérégie has seen 949 new cases of COVID-19 since Oct. 5, bringing the total number of active cases to 1125. This includes 8 new cases in the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, and 18 in the MRC des Jardins-de-Napierville. The MRC de Beauharnois-Salaberry is now reporting 39 active cases, and the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges currently has 45. Many municipalities have remained steady in their number of active cases, with a few growing by one or two cases. Huntingdon is now reporting 42 cases, Ormstown 17, Godmanchester 10, Hinchinbrooke 7, Saint-Anicet 6, and Hemmingford 15. Whether the long weekend affected the virus’ spread in the region has yet to be seen. For the moment, per the Quebec government’s official list, there has been no change in the number of cases at the Huntingdon Residential and Long-term Care Centre (CHCH) with 9 active cases. There are mobile walk-in clinics planned for October 13 and 14 in Mercier at the Centre Communautaire Roger-Tougas from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as October 15 and 16 in Vaudreuil-Dorion at the Opti Centre St-Jean-Baptiste from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those experiencing symptoms, as well as anyone who may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, will be able to access testing without an appointment.
The red zone restrictions seem to be slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Montreal over the past two weeks, and Quebec’s total new cases have shown a decline for the fourth day in a row. Legault is cautiously optimistic, and he hopes to see the same positive effects in the Montérégie. “We’re going to have to adopt new habits,” said Legault, “The contagion is slowing, but we must be cautious.”