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COVID-19 update – April 15: Frustrated Legault calls on doctors; 19 deaths to date in Montérégie

A frustrated François Legault issued an extraordinary appeal during his daily briefing on Wednesday, asking all specialist and family doctors to work in the CHSLD network to help alleviate a widespread shortage of around 2,000 employees. The premier noted there were 1,382 absent employees in the public CHSLD network alone. “Maybe I have not been clear,” said Legault, in reference to his previous requests for doctors and people with experience in health care to step forward and help regain control of the situation in the province’s long-term care residences and CHSLDs. “What we are missing is hands.”

Health Minister Danielle McCann made the analogy of doctors going overseas on humanitarian missions. “Now the humanitarian mission is here, in Quebec, in our CHSLDs,” she said.

There are 14,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, an increase of 612 over the past 24 hours. A total of 948 individuals are fighting the disease in hospital, an increase of 48, with 218 of those in intensive care.

In Montérégie, there are now 1,686 positive cases, with 139 people in hospital, including 26 in intensive care. A total of 19 deaths are being attributed to the coronavirus in the region. Of those who have died, 11 were residents of a seniors’ residence, 6 were housed in CHSLDs, and 4 were living at home. Of those who have tested positive or the virus, 75% are between the age of 20-69 years, 18% are above 70 years of age, and 7% are below the age of 20.

The numbers remain very stable in the immediate area, with all municipalities in the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent and Hemmingford listed as having fewer than five cases. The number of cases  in Chateauguay and Vaudreuil-Dorion have increased to 71 in each municipality, while Salaberry-de-Valleyfield increased by 5 to 53 cases.

Trudeau eases CERB criteria

As signalled earlier this week, Trudeau announced a relaxation of the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) to include more people whose incomes have been affected by Covid-19, including those who earn less than $1,000 a month. Also eligible will be seasonal workers and people whose EI benefits have run out since January 1st. Tomorrow, Trudeau will be speaking with the other Premiers to address boosting pay for long-term care workers as soon as possible, so that those who look after “the seniors who built this country” are properly supported. In the coming days, the government will also be looking into helping post-secondary students and businesses worried about rent.
In response to the “overwhelming feelings many people are experiencing in this unreal situation,” Trudeau announced the opening of a new portal for mental health and support at and also on the Canada COVID-19 app.
When questioned about opening up the economy and a return to normalcy, Trudeau stressed that it would be a number of weeks before restrictions are lifted. “We can’t be in a rush to loosen controls, and be in an even worse situation. Then all we have done so far is for nothing.” His plan is to get over the first phase of the pandemic, continue with controls, and then have a coordinated approach with the provinces regarding a release of industries. “As long as there is no vaccine, we need to be extra vigilant as a world, as a country, even once the first wave is through.”

CBSA reducing hours at border crossings

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada Border Services Agency will be temporarily reducing service hours at a total of 27 Canadian land border locations as of midnight tonight. In Quebec, there are eight ports of entry that will see their hours reduced, including the Hemmingford and Trout River crossings. Service hours will now be limited to 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week.


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