At 894 positive cases of COVID-19 in the Montérégie region, the Direction de Santé Publique de la Montérégie has now started to report the number of cases according to MRC. There was no change in the last 24 hours for the Haut-Saint-Laurent with 6 cases. The regional public health authority announced the MRC des Jardins-de-Napierville is reporting 22 cases, and the MRC de Beauharnois-Salaberry has 37 positive cases. In all, the number of cases jumped by 88 across the region. Provincially, the number of positive cases continued to rise with 636 new cases announced today to bring the total to 8,590. Of those, 533 are in hospital, with 164 being treated in intensive care. There are now 121 deaths being attributed to the coronavirus. Despite this, Premier Legault was cautiously optimistic that the relatively low numbers of hospitalizations are a positive sign. “The month of April will be critical,” said Legault, suggesting now was not the time to relax any of the public health measures in place.
The outlook for personal protective equipment has also improved. There is now a 14-day supply of gloves, a 13-day supply of N-95 masks, and a 10-day supply of surgical masks. There are only enough gowns for another 6 days, and as such these have become more critical with the government suggesting they are considering looking at reusable gowns.
The premier addressed the controversy surrounding a decision by the Jewish General Hospital to restrict access to the maternity ward to mothers only. The government was clear that this is not a widespread policy and that all pregnant women about to give birth at a Quebec hospital other than the Jewish General can be accompanied by a respective partner or significant person.
Legault also announced a $100 million fund for small businesses affected by the pandemic to promote training programs, to maintain employees, and to ensure continuity and prepare to restart activities.
CERB application process opened today
Prime Minister Trudeau announced this morning that CERB (the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit) was officially open. By the time he took to the podium outside his home in Ottawa around 11 am, over 240,000 people had already successfully registered for the program. Applications to the program can be made online at Canada.ca, or by phone: 1-800-959-2041.
Trudeau also announced that in the coming days, the government will be looking to get more money to certain groups who presently do not qualify for benefit, namely: those who are still working but with drastically reduced hours (less than 10 hours); those who are earning less than $500 a month; and long-term care workers and those employed in senior residences who are not earning as much as the CERB would offer (i.e. $2,000 per month). Trudeau added: “We will try to get this right. Whatever your situation, we are working to get the help you need.”