MONTREA -- Lawrence Rosenberg, the CEO of the CIUSSS for West-Central Montreal, says the health authority is finally getting a chance to catch its breath and look ahead at new plans for the future.

“Things actually are stabilizing and under control,” said Rosenberg in an interview with CTV News on Monday.

One major plan at the moment is to begin antibody testing, he said, as soon as next week.

Antibody tests can detect if someone has previously fought off the COVID-19 virus by showing if that person’s blood contains certain proteins. In other words, it can show if someone was asymptomatic but did have the virus.

The first antibody test was only approved in Canada about two and a half weeks ago, and it will be used in a strategic way in the coming weeks and months across the country by public health authorities.

Montreal is no exception. “We were a little bit delayed in getting things on the ground, but we hope to begin testing early next week,” said Rosenberg.

“We hope to begin testing staff in the hospitals and at long-term care facilites to begin with. This type of testing won’t tell us who has an active virus infection, but will tell us who’s been exposed.”

This, he says, “will be the first indication that we have with respect to how widespread the viral infection has been and what the penetration into the community has been, and that’ll be the first tstep with regard to how we manage things going forward, especially with respect to the next wave, if it comes in the fall.”

He also said that the CIUSSS West-Central has been exploring telehealth care for mental health with a pilot project, the first of its kind in Quebec, during the pandemic. 

“This pandemic has actually pushed us into accelerating our plans for telemedicine and telehealth,” he said.