Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Quebec up to 139; students could be out of school until May
MONTREAL -- In his latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said on Friday that there are now 139 confirmed cases in Quebec, 18 more than on Thursday.
Legault said 10 patients are currently in hospital, three more than the day before. There are no new fatalities.
Another 3,400 people in the province are awaiting test results, and 7,700 has tested negative to date.
The government is adding new COVID-19 hotlines so people can access appointments to testing.
In addition to the main hotline -- 1-877-644-4545 -- there is the addition of regional hotlines corresponding to local area codes, so in Montral, people can call 514-644-4545 and in Laval, they can call 450-644-4545.
The government is able to take on 6,000 tests per day at the moment, said Health Minister Danielle McCann, but so far the bottleneck has been in confirming appointments through the hotline. The new regional lines should ease that issue, she said.
Recorded messages will be sent to the homes of people over 70 to repeat the guidelines and reassure the public, Legault said.
Most importantly, if you’re ill, please stay at home, isolate yourself and make sure that you see no one else, said the premier.
“Every action we take to limit physical contact saves lives,” he said.
While Legault said government and education officials are studying all sorts of scenarios regarding students returning to classes in the province, no decision has been made.
But he said it was extremely unlikely students would return by the end of March, suggesting May might be a more realistic target date.
Legault addressed concerns at construction sites, both in terms of job losses and hygiene.
He said public infrastructure jobs will move forward more quickly than planned to provide jobs for those who are losing work in the private sector.
There at 27,000 construction jobs in the province, and with many private jobs cancelled during this crisis, the public sector hopes to make up some of those losses.
Legault also stressed the need for workers in the construction sector to have access to water so they can wash their hands, and more trailers so they can respect guidelines for social isolation on breaks.
If a worker falls ill, they stay home, period, he said, adding that Quebec is going to need construction workers, as they are a critical part of the economy.
Legault also took a moment to thank the media for giving citizens access to critical information and combat the spread of misinformation. Many journalists are working in difficult conditions, said Legault, adding that the government appreciates their hard work.
He said the government is looking at ways to help support news organizations that are already struggling and will face further struggles as advertising dollars will be expected to dry up.