Montreal officials renew calls for vigilance as city enters COVID-19 red zone
MONTREAL -- Mayor Valerie Plante is reminding Montrealers not to gather for the next 28 days as the city enters the red zone on the province's regional COVID-19 alert map.
During a news conference on Tuesday morning, Plante, the city's public health director, Dr. Mylene Drouin, and the director-general of the CIUSSS du Centre-sud-de-l'Ile-de-Montreal, Sonia Belanger, outlined what this new level means for Montreal.
The provincial government announced on Monday evening that bars, restaurants, theatres, movie theatres and other such gathering locations will be closed from Oct. 1 to 28. During that time, private gatherings will be prohibited as well.
“This situation is worrying for the health system," Belanger said, but “We are ready for this second wave.”
Belanger said Montreal hospitals have 5,000 beds and that 1,000 of them have been reserved specifically for COVID-19 patients. Of them, 150 are ICU beds.
As of Tuesday, 61 people are receiving care for COVID-19 in Montreal hospitals, 17 of which are in the ICU.
She's reminding people to keep their doctor and surgery appointments as the system is equipped to keep providing them and is still catching up on appointments that were cancelled during the first wave of the disease.
“The antidote against COVID-19 is all of us,” Belanger said.
“We can clearly see that we’re asking for everyone’s collaboration," Drouin added, saying that COVID-19 is on the rise in all Montreal boroughs, despite higher trends in some areas. "We see the progression and its accelerating in all neighbourhoods."
The city is launching a social media campaign on Tuesday in the goal of encouraging youth to get tested and to respond to public health calls for contact-tracing, as the city has documented a recent uptick in cases among the age group but isn't seeing an increase in testing.
Drouin said outbreaks in the city are small, comprising of about 10-15 people. Most of them have been linked back to private gatherings, carpooling, or rest areas in schools, for example -- not in classes.
“That’s where we’re seeing transmission right now," she said.
Plante said during this second lockdown, she'd like to keep parks open, but Montrealers have to respect the rules and not gather -- even outdoors.
“This isn’t an easy period right now," she said. "But gatherings aren’t possible, you’ve got to put that aside."
She added that police will be present in outdoor areas during the second wave as well, but that their goal will be to warn people when they're disrespecting public health guidelines more so than to fine them. Fines, Plante said, will mostly be reserved for people who refuse to comply.