Quebec's COVID-19 detection is 'very efficient' and protocols are in place: health minister
Published Tuesday, March 3, 2020 4:21PM EST Last Updated Wednesday, March 4, 2020 6:50PM EST
MONTREAL -- The province is active and determined to contain further outbreaks of COVID-19, said Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann in a Wednesday news conference, as she urged citizens to take precautions.
Quebec has just one confirmed case of coronavirus while 33 cases are under investigation, McCann confirmed.
"We are considering that the propagation of the virus is certainly weak at this point in Quebec, but we do take the situation seriously," said McCann. "That's why we are confirming that we are taking very severe measures of precaution."
McCann said Quebec has a detection system that is "very efficient" and protocols are in place.
"If someone has symptoms that they think is coronavirus, we ask them to contact 811 - info sante," said McCann.
Anyone who calls with symptoms will be directed immediately to an emergency room.
In addition, the province has begun to establish medical clinics exclusively for those who contract COVID-19 or are suspected of having it.
The government has also put together an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate efforts.
McCann added that employers and citizens need to help halt the spread of the virus.
"We ask that employers also be very conciliatory and accommodate people that might have to be in isolation for two weeks," she said. "All of us have a role to play to diminish the risk of infection."
Coughing into your elbow and washing your hands thoroughly remain necessary precautions as well as isolating yourself if you fear you are infected.
McCann promised weekly news conferences on the matter and more if the situation evolves.
ONE CASE: PATIENT IN SELF-ISOLATION
The woman diagnosed with the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Quebec has returned home under self-isolation after being evaluated at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.
Quebec public health officials confirmed the case on Friday, saying the patient is a woman from the Montreal region who recently returned from a trip to Iran.
Health officials say that apart from visiting the Jewish General Hospital and the clinic where she was diagnosed, the woman's contacts in Montreal were limited to family and friends. She has been in self-isolation outside of these visits.
"This case has been effectively managed by health network professionals," Montreal public health said in a statement, adding that regional health officials are working with the agency "to identify the close contacts of the person to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
Quebec Public Health Dr. Yves Jalbert said the healthcare worker in contact with the patient is now in precautionary isolation as the woman who returned from Iran was not always wearing a mask in the waiting room.
DESIGNATED RESPONSE HOSPITALS
The Jewish General is one of two designated response hospitals in Montreal. A portion of one floor was renovated in 2016 to handle pandemic diseases following an outbreak of Swine Flu.
Twenty-four rooms in the hospital’s K Pavilion are equipped with specialized ventilation systems designed to ensure virulent diseases can’t spread.
The Montreal woman is the 14th confirmed case of the virus in Canada, and the first outside Ontario and British Columbia.