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COVID-19 Update – April 3, 2020: Long-range projections expected by next week

The number of local cases of COVID-19 are rising but very slowly with only one new case announced today in the Haut-Saint-Laurent-Suroît health region to bring the total to 27. There was an increase of 25 positive cases in the Jardins-Roussillon health area with 118 total cases. Province-wide, the number of infected individuals rose to 6,101, which is an increase of 583 cases. To date there are 429 people in hospital, with 122 now being treated in intensive care. So far, 77,469 individuals have tested negative for the coronavirus.

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the Montérégie as of April 3. (PHOTO: Direction de Santé Publique de la Montérégie)

Premier François Legault announced that some equipment shipments had arrived and that there is now an eight-day supply of protective equipment for healthcare workers. He also promised that the government would release some projections charting the potential impact of  the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec. The Ontario government released projections today that included a range of possibilities for the number of cases and deaths that could be expected in the province. Legault said the projections for Québec would be released on Tuesday next week.

Bonuses for essential workers

Finance Minister Éric Girard released details today of new measures to support about 600,000 essential workers in around 50 sectors earning less than $550 per week, whether they are full or part-time employees. The benefit will amount to around $100 per week for the next 16 weeks, retroactive to March 15. Applications for this benefit will be online as of May 19, and those applying will be asked to declare they have not received any other benefits during this time. Labour Minister Jean Boulet, who was also present for the announcement, suggested this benefit was a thank you to essential workers, and he asked the greater population to also thank these people for continuing to do their work.

A $150 million program to help small-and-medium-sized businesses was also announced earlier today, which will be managed by the local MRCs across the province.

Families can move seniors in residences

The provincial government also announced today that families concerned for loved ones in private residences and CHSLDs can move them out of long-term care if they feel such places are no longer safe. Individuals will have to have a certain level of autonomy to leave the facilities. Families will not be able to enter the residences; but instead will be asked to pick up their family member at the door. A total of 519 out of 2,220 such residences in the province has at least one COVID-19 positive resident.

Fewer festivals this summer

The Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Francos de Montreal were both officially cancelled today. The Tour de l’Île de Montréal was also cancelled. The Just for Laughs Comedy Festival has been postponed to the fall.

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