Quebec looking at options for a gradual return from COVID-19 measures
Published Tuesday, April 21, 2020 1:07PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 21, 2020 9:26PM EDT
MONTREAL -- As Quebec attempts to get a handle on the COVID-19 crisis in long-term care homes, Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday the province will begin to plan for a gradual return of everyday activities, including the reopening schools and daycares.
"Of course, we still need some time to be sure that the pandemic is under control before reopening the economy and the schools," Legault said Tuesday, emphasizing measures would be introduced gradually and with the blessing of public health officials. "We'll table a plan to tell you exactly how it will be done in the next weeks and months."
Legault said that would include how to bring children out of confinement and back to schools and daycares sometime down the road -- but stressed he didn't foresee putting kids in school during the summer months.
Some parts of the province less affected by COVID-19 could open first, the premier said, but he made clear waiting until September to reopen schools and daycares wasn't optimal either.
"You don't want to have one million children going back to school all at the same time, because then, if they infect their parents ... we have a big wave of people needing to be hospitalized. We'll be in trouble," Legault said. "So, we have to do that gradually and every week, we have to test the results of this gradual opening -- it's true for companies, it's also true for schools."
Legault wasn't prepared to say whether physical distancing would be practised at schools.
There are now 1,041 people who have died of COVID-19 in Quebec, health authorities announced Tuesday, as confirmed cases in the province reached 20,126.
That’s up 102 from the 939 deaths reported Monday; COVID-19 cases in Quebec rose 807 from the 19,319 announced a day earlier.
There are 1,224 people being treated for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals as of Tuesday, up 55 from the 1,169 reported Monday. Of those in a hospital, 201 are in intensive care, up three from the 198 reported 24 hours earlier.
There are 2,970 people waiting for COVID-19 test results in Quebec as of Tuesday, down one from the 2,971 reported Monday.
The number of people in Quebec who have recovered from COVID-19 as of Tuesday was 4,048, up 201 from the 3,847 recoveries reported a day earlier.
With 9,348 confirmed cases, Montreal remains far and away the provincial region hardest hit by COVID-19; see a map breaking down the spread of COVID-19 by Quebec region here.