COVID-19 cases top 10,000 in Quebec as deaths climb to 175
MONTREAL -- There are now 175 Quebecers who have died from COVID-19, and the number of confirmed cases in Quebec has reached 10,031, the province’s public health officials announced Wednesday.
That's an increase of 25 from the 150 deaths reported Tuesday and up 691 from the 9,340 cases reported across the province 24 hours earlier.
There are 632 Quebecers being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals as of Wednesday afternoon, health authorities reported, up 49 from the 583 reported Monday; 181 of them are in intensive care, up 17 from the 164 reported the day before.
As of Wednesday, 827 people are confirmed to have recovered, according to government data.
Premier Francois Legault updated the province on the latest situation in his daily COVID-19 news briefing alongside Quebec public health director Horacio Arruda and Health Minister Danielle McCann.
MORE HELP FOR SENIORS
McCann spoke about new reinforcements for care in seniors’ facilities to help the population most at risk of serious complications and fatalities from a COVID-19 outbreak.
Legault said 89 per cent of deaths from COVID-19 in the province are people 70 year older and over.
The province has hired some 500 former nurses, said McCann, and will add staffing to long-term care facilities, redeploying many health workers from hospitals into those residences for seniors.
The hiring of new nurses will allow health care officials to create teams dedicated by establishment and by unit, therefore having the same people intervening with elderly by establishment and unit.
“It’s going to make all the difference,” said McCann, adding that family physicians will also be redeployed to give more care to seniors in long-term care facilities. “The staff has to be in one establishment, not many establishments, and for that we need more staff.”
Officials will begin COVID-19 systematic screening for staff and seniors in those places where the elderly live and are vulnerable, said McCann.
Staff will also be equipped with protective gear to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“All the protective equipment has to be in place,” said McCann.
On the same topic, Legault also spoke about the need to keep the elderly who live at home safe and healthy. They should stay home at all times if possible, and anyone who delivers food to them should not stay and visit. Everyone must stay two metres away at all times, he said.
"Don’t start chatting, you can do that over the phone," he said.
GET USED TO PHYSICAL DISTANCING
Legault spoke optimistically about the projections released on Tuesday, saying Quebec will see better results the more we follow the guidelines. He told Quebecers to “get used to” the two-metre guidelines, even after businesses begin to re-open.
“Let’s not stop -- we started very well, let’s keep going the right way,” he said.
Even in the most pessimistic of projections, the province would need 1,000 beds and ventilators.
“If it’s necessary, we have it, we have that capacity,” Legault said.
Legault said he’s hopeful the province will be able to see the gradual end of the economic pause sooner than later, but said it’s important not to see a resurgence in cases when that happens.
“April showers bring May flowers,” Legault said.
The premier said physical distancing guidelines will be difficult in daycares and schools, as well as during rush hour commuting, so Legault said he’s considering those issues and is asking employers to see how we could be more flexible with schedules to avoid rush hour and with child care issues.
Wednesday evening, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet, announced in a news release that the Programme d’aide temporaire aux travailleurs (PATT COVID-19) will end on April 10, 2020, at 4 p.m. This program made it possible to financially support more than 13,000 citizens for a total amount of more than $14.5 million, the release said.
This program was launched on March 16 to provide financial assistance to workers who are the subject of an isolation measure and who were not eligible for an income replacement program.
Boulet explained that this Quebec initiative would end due to the widening of eligibility criteria for the Canadian Emergency Benefit, since April 6, “which can be obtained by most of the workers eligible for PATT COVID-19.”
For its part, the Quebec Public Health Association warns that the crisis could have an impact on the long-term health of Quebecers.
A Leger survey revealed that 29 per cent of cannabis users are increasing their use and that more than 20 per cent of alcohol drinkers are consuming more than before. Junk food consumption is on the rise as well, and physical activity is declining.
UNICEF believes that children’s increased online presence while they’re on forced leave increases the risk of them being targeted by sexual predators. The UN agency said organizations, governments and parents must take the situation more seriously.