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COVID-19 update – April 10: Summer fairs and events cancelled; schools may reopen by May

It will be a quiet summer across the Valley as all public events and activities, including two of our three century-old agricultural fairs, were officially called off today as per recommendations by the Québec government and the public health authority in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Livestock Breeders Association of the District of Beauharnois (LBA), the non-profit organization behind the organization of the Ormstown Fair and a number of other local events in Ormstown, posted a statement on social media today reading: “It is with a great sense of sadness and disappointment that we officially announce the cancellation of Desjardins Expo Ormstown.” All events scheduled to take place during the months of June, July and August will be affected, regardless of whether they were to have taken place indoors or outside.

During his daily briefing, Premier François Legault announced another 25 deaths in the province due to the COVID-19 virus. This brings the death toll to 241. The number of confirmed cases in Québec rose to 11,677, with 733 individuals being treated in hospital, including 186 in intensive care. Legault was once again optimistic about the numbers, citing the number of intensive care patients had actually decreased by 10.

The number of confirmed cases by municipality was updated today by the public health authority. (PHOTO: Direction de Santé Publique de la Montérégie)

There are now 1,173 positive cases in the Montérégie. All of the municipalities in the Haut-Saint-Laurent as well as Hemmingford, Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka, Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, Saint-Martine and Akwesasne are listed as having fewer than five cases per municipality. There were slight increases in the number of cases in the more urban municipalities surrounding the Valley. Salaberry-de-Valleyfield increased by one case to 28, Vaudreuil-Dorion rose by 3 to 43 cases, Mercier reported one more case to bring their total to 25, and the number of confirmed cases in Chateauguay jumped by 5 to 55.

The premier then suggested that as the province was nearing the peak, it was possible that students might return to school before the month of May, which would positively impact the economy by allowing parents to go back to work. “Nothing is decided, we are looking at different scenarios. We need eventually to restart the economy and give hope to the population,” he said. “We know that children are less at risk, but when we do eventually reopen the schools and daycares, we will have to be sure that children don’t go anywhere near their grandparents.”

Legault once again addressed the severity of the outbreaks in a number of seniors’ residences and CHSLDs, promising these centres would be getting more resources and health-care personnel.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau struck a more reserved tone in his address, suggesting the country is still in the first wave of the virus, and for that phase to finish by the summer, “we must continue what we are doing now”. He said that then, and only then, can measures be relaxed and particular sectors of the economy be brought back.

Trudeau said parliament will be recalled Saturday to pass legislation required to implement the program under which businesses can get a 75% subsidy on each employee’s wages. Qualifying businesses are now able to access interest-free bank loans of up to $40,000 through banks. These funds are exclusively reserved for businesses that paid between $50,000 and $1 million in payroll last year and are to be used to keep the business operative during this time.

The global death toll for COVID-19 is now above 100,000, with more than 1.6 million confirmed cases throughout the world. Canada now ranks 13th in countries with confirmed cases with around 21,250. The United States has the most cases with around 486,500.

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