“Our top priority remains the situation in our seniors’ residences,” said a sombre François Legault as he reported an increase of 75 deaths over the past 24 hours. The premier then announced there was a shortage of 1,250 employees in the CHSLD network due to absences. “I am asking everybody available. I appeal to your sense of duty to protect the vulnerable. We need you,” he said, while issuing a public call for those with experience in health services, and specifically nursing teachers, to come forward voluntarily. The premier also suggested that natural caregivers might even be admitted to certain CHSLDs to relieve some of the strain.
Legault said that of the 2,600 public and private residences in the province, 41 are currently being monitored closely for COVID-19. The list of residences being watched will be made public by the government in the very near future.
The number of confirmed cases in the province rose by 691 to a total of 14,248. There are now 936 individuals fighting the disease in hospital, with 230 of those in intensive care. The number of cases in the Montérégie jumped by 132 positive results. There are 122 people currently being treated in hospital, with 25 in an intensive care unit. A total of 18 deaths in the region have been attributed to COVID-19.
When questioned once again about returning children to schools and daycares, Premier Legault was adamant that “there was no question in the short term of reopening the schools.”
Numbers stable in the immediate region
The number of confirmed cases in the immediate region continues to be stable, with all 13 municipalities of the Haut-Saint-Laurent and Hemmingford still reporting fewer than five cases. The same can be said for Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka, Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, and Sainte-Martine. The number of cases rose by nine in Vaudreuil-Dorion to 68 and by five in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield to 46. The number of cases increased by two in Chateauguay to 67, and by one in Mercier to 29.
Delivery of medical supplies
Today, Prime Minister Trudeau delivered welcome news to many frontline workers: a new shipment of N95 masks has arrived. A total of 1.1 million masks, and one million gloves and gowns, will be shipped across the country in the coming days.
Also announced was an amendment to the Quarantine Act. As of midnight tonight, people coming from abroad, whether arriving by land, air or sea, will be required to demonstrate they have a credible quarantine plan before they arrive. Travellers without an adequate plan will have to quarantine in a location selected for them, such as a hotel.
Regarding financial help for all workers and businesses, Trudeau said his government is in the process of looking at modifications to the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) so that workers, thus far ineligible for the benefit, will be supported. They are also looking at commercial rent support and changes to the Canada Wage Subsidy.
In response to a question from reporters about when the economy will be started up again, Trudeau answered, “it’s going to be weeks still.”
Access to medical services in the Valley
Dr. Catherine Bélanger, the regional COVID-19 coordinator, has issued specific procedures for accessing medical services and care locally. There are now two procedures to follow. The first is for those requiring medical care unrelated to the coronavirus, while the second is for those suffering from symptoms consistent with the virus, or who have already been diagnosed as COVID-19-positive.