42 new COVID-19 cases in Quebec and four new deaths
Published Saturday, March 21, 2020 11:28AM EDT Last Updated Saturday, March 21, 2020 8:43PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Four more Quebecers have died from COVID-19, all of whom were residents of the same seniors home.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced the deaths on Saturday, saying that the number of confirmed cases in the province now stands at 181, with a total of five deaths.
Legault did not identify the seniors home at which the victims had been residents but in a statement the Quebec government said it was located in the Lanaudiere region.
The number means an increase of 42 from Friday which was 139 cases with one death.
Legault reiterated his call for Quebecers to stay inside if you can and not travel distances. He added that the virus is accelerating.
The premier said there is no wish for the SQ or other police forces to begin ticketing individuals who do not comply with isolation measures but that he hadn't ruled out giving police more power to intervene in cases where people don't respect isolation rules.
He added that Minister of Public Security Genevieve Guilbault has been in contact with policing agencies which have adjusted policies in relation to policing during the epidemic.
He was joined by the Minister of Health and Social Services, Danielle McCann, and the National Director of Public Health, Horacio Arruda.
When asked about the possibility of schools and other highly-trafficked facilities being shut down until 2021, Arruda didn't rule out the possibility but said the focus remains on "flattening the curve," to prevent healthcare facilities from being overcrowded.
Arruda said he would not rule out closing the border between Quebec and Ontario, but that it would be difficult as some regions share the same health services.
Legault reiterated the importance of going outside for both physical and mental health and said he had no plans to shut down public parks, but warned Quebecers to avoid crowding together.
ADDED INFO-CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
The general number remains 1 877 644-4545, but it is now possible to dial 644-4545 preceded by your area code, such as 418 in Quebec or 514 in Montreal, followed by 644-4545.
This line is for those who are concerned for their health or who have symptoms associated with COVID-19 - the main ones being fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Nurses will make appointments, if necessary, at screening clinics.