Quebec calls on anyone with slightest doubt to get tested for COVID-19
MONTREAL -- Quebec's Health Minister is calling on returning travellers who were off for the province's construction holiday over the past two weeks to get tested for COVID-19.
At a press conference in Montreal on Monday, Health Minister Christian Dube and the province's Public Health Director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, renewed their call for vigilance amid the COVID-19 pandemic -- on the same day that the maximum capacity for public gatherings in Quebec increased from 50 to 250 people.
They're encouraging everyone -- not just recent travellers -- to get screened for the virus if they have even the slightest doubt that they may have come into contact with it. That includes people who have found themselves at personal get togethers that exceeded the 10-person limit.
"If you have a doubt whatsoever, whether it be through involuntary means.. Or perhaps there was a little party somewhere and you thought you were limited to 10 people and it wasn’t done for whatever reason… Well do not hesitate to get tested," Dube said. "I really wish to insist voluntary screening."
Dube said the plan is to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to beating the virus, especially in the context of a potential second wave. Both Dube and Arruda said new cases are inevitable as the province deconfines -- citing recent outbreaks in day camps as an example -- but what's important is to keep the number of active cases low.
“I would like for us to give ourselves a collective challenge to lower down (the) number of cases as quickly as possible,” Dube said.
When pressed by reporters about what kind of numbers he'd like to see, Dube said “I’d prefer not giving a specific number, but what we do want, I can tell you, is that we want it to be as low as possible.”
The pair also reiterated that personal gatherings still cannot exceed 10 people, despite the fact that public events can reach up to 250.
"There’s no change that we’re ready to bring to that," Dube said.
“That’s a context where the transmission will not (happen),” Arruda said of large public gatherings, claiming that they are much more safe than personal gatherings since public health measures are strictly enforced.
Arruda said that in the coming days, the results of a study by Hema-Quebec will be made public which will shed light on the true presence of COVID-19 in the province.
"(It) will allow us to estimate the proportion of people who were infected in the public," Arruda said. "The Ontario numbers are about one point something to three per cent, and we expect about the same numbers in Quebec."
Dube took the time to thank Quebecers for hearing the call of public health authorities when it comes to the wearing of masks.
“It’s a social norm now, a standard," he said. "We are there to give an example, the better example we give -- that it is now normal to wear a mask -- I think everybody will be able to understand that it’s not only to respect ourselves personally, but to respect others as well.”
There are now 5,683 people who have died of COVID-19 in Quebec, health authorities announced Monday, as confirmed cases in the province reached 59,722. View the chart below for a detailed breakdown.