Quebec up to 4,611 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 33 deaths
MONTREAL -- Quebec now has 4,611 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 33 deaths, Premier Francois Legault said in his daily news briefing on Wednesday.
The death toll is up two from the 31 announced on Tuesday, and cases are up by 449.
Of those that have tested positive, 307 are in hospital, 82 of which are in intensive care.
Legault said the government was able to free up 6,000 hospital beds in recent days, adding that officials don’t believe hospitalizations will reach that number at the peak of the pandemic.
“When we compare, we are amongst the places that have some the most screening tests, so it’s normal that we have more,” said Legault, adding that the province has fewer hospitalizations and death per capita than many other places in the world.
In addition to those with a positive diagnosis, there are another 5,770 cases currently under investigation, and so far 65,082 people have tested negative in the province.
Legault urged Quebecers not to visit their family members in seniors’ homes, saying that of the 2,200 in the province there are 519 residences with at least one infection. He acknowledged that though it’s difficult not to see family members, but that it’s “a matter of life and death.”
Health Minister Danielle McCann said she is working with Seniors' Minister Marguerite Blais to see that the same staff members visit care facilities in order to lower the number of people in contact with seniors and therefore the risk of transmission to the elderly in those facilities.
He also called on Quebecers not to move throughout the province, particularly those in areas like the Laurentians and Lanaudiere, where moving between more northern areas and southern areas of those regions can further spread the virus.
Legault said that though the vast majority of Quebec residents are respecting the guidelines to self-isolate and practice physical distancing, he was hearing reports of gatherings, meetings and non-essential businesses still open. He urged people to discontinue those meet-ups.
NO PLAN TO CLOSE ACCESS TO MONTREAL
Though roadblocks were established in regions throughout the province on Wednesday to limit travel between regions, there is currently no plan to close the Island of Montreal, said Legault.
Legault said he wouldn’t consider that closure for now because is a lot of travel between off-island suburbs and the city.
Regarding city parks, though, the premier said many people in Lafontaine Park, for example, were seen in close proximity on Tuesday,
“First it’s not legal, and second, it’s not responsible right now,” said Legault, adding that Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante is considering closing those gathering areas.
“I think it would be a good idea,” if people continue to congregate in those areas, said Legault.
This is a breaking news update. More details to come.