Quebec unveils regional alert system to measure state of COVID-19 throughout province
MONTREAL -- Designed to allow governments and public health officials to measure the state of the pandemic in different parts of the province, Quebec’s new regional COVID-19 alert system was unveiled Tuesday.
Similar to how the severity of a forest fire is measured, the system categorizes risks as green, yellow, orange, and red.
With regional tracking, health and safety measures can be implemented regionally instead of provincially.
For example, a community in the yellow zone may see more inspections and controlled access, while a region in the orange zone will see their public gathering capacity lowered to 50. In the red zone, travel, public venues, and businesses could see tighter restrictions.
“We want to set up restrictions as selectively as possible so that it impacts people as little as possible,” said Dr. Eric Litvak, the deputy strategic medical advisor for Quebec public health. He said this will also put the power in the hands of the regions to respond to their own level of risk.
Health Minister Christian Dube said his government has two objectives: predictability and accountability, and that this alert system can address them both. He said government and public health officials will better predict how the virus is moving through communities, and the system will help the public become more accountable.
After all, he said, the solution is simple.
“In each region the solution is in our hand” said Dube adding, “we can’t wash our hands of it, but we should continue washing our hands.”
Dube along with public health director Horacio Arruda reiterated the same message Canadians have received since the start of the pandemic: wash your hands, keep your distance.
“We have to make sure that people understand it’s their role,” said Arruda.
In recent days, Quebec’s Covid-19 numbers surged past 200 new cases a day, with 205 on Sunday and 216 on Monday. Tuesday’s new cases are slightly lower at 173.
Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault is expected to announce the specific measures that will be enacted within the colour system.