Monteregie virus infections top 60; hundreds of people overwhelm testing centre
MONTREAL -- A new testing clinic in the town of Mercier reached full capacity within two hours of opening on Thursday—a sign of how seriously Montérégie is taking its new COVID-19 outbreak, including its younger residents.
Many of the hundreds who lined up were young and were connected with people who attended the two teenage house parties that started the outbreak.
They admitted that having parties right now may be a bad idea.
“The young people [saw] each other too fast,” one told CTV. “We didn’t wait."
People around Mercier have good reason for their anxieties. The outbreak has now infected more than 60 people, leading to the closure of many businesses.
“It was a little bit everywhere in Mercier, so I decided to be tested just to be sure,” said one person who arrived to be tested Thursday morning.
The region’s outbreak first started at two house parties held by teens, but it had some time to spread—in workplaces, bars and homes—before health authorities realized what was happening.
Now people are second-guessing their health and trying to figure out if their symptoms match up.
“The first day I was constantly tired,” said one young man, who said he’s been feeling sick for two days.
While they were overwhelmed by the lineup, health authorities said they’re happy to see the demand and will set up another clinic for Saturday.
“People are concerned about their health, and the health of their family, so it's a good thing they come and get tested,” said Jade St-Jean, the spokesperson for the health district of Montérégie West.
Officials say the testing will help give them an idea of the scope of the outbreak.