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COVID-19 Update – April 5: Six cases in the Haut-Saint-Laurent; province on pause until May 4

According to the Direction de santé publique de la Montérégie, there are six cases of COVID-19 in the Haut-Saint-Laurent. The local health region was officially split from the Suroît health region, which had 30 cases as of Sunday. The Jardins-Roussillon health region has 150 cases, an increase of 18. Across the province the number increased by a further 947 individuals, for a total of 7,944 cases, of which 806 are in the Montérégie. The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 jumped by 19 to a total of 94. Currently, there are 525 individuals in hospital, with 154 of those being treated in intensive care units.

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the Montérégie as of April 5. (PHOTO: Direction de Santé Publique de la Montérégie)

Premier François Legault announced today that as the peak in new cases is now not expected to be reached for a few weeks, he would be extending the “pause” across the province to May 4 for all non-essential services and activities. “We are entering the decisive phase of this battle,” said Legault, suggesting that while a Google study found people in Quebec to be among the most compliant in terms of social distancing, it was not the time to relax public safety measures.

Buy local with the Blue Basket

The government also launched Le Panier Bleu (The Blue Basket), a digital platform that will group together Quebec merchants in an effort to unite buy local initiatives under one banner. The platform will be managed by a non-profit organization, with the mandate to promote Quebec businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. Quebec’s minister of the economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, announced the project is expected to cost $250,000 over the next few months, and that once formed, the Board of Directors will not be paid. As of 2 pm today, there were already 1,227 businesses registered on the site, including 647 online businesses and 978 physical businesses.

Following yesterday’s cautious optimism, Premier Legault was increasingly optimistic about medical supplies today, suggesting an order of N-95 masks had arrived and that there was now a 14-day supply.

Federal programs open

Workers who have lost their jobs can start to apply for federal aid through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit starting Monday, April 6. Registrations for the federal program can be done online at Canada.ca. In order for individuals to determine what they may be eligible for in terms of benefits, Quebec Solidaire has launched a comprehensive site detailing all of the programs at aidecovid.info.

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