With troubling echoes of first wave in care home outbreaks, opposition slams Legault government
MONTREAL -- A COVID-19 outbreak at the Ste-Croix seniors’ home in Marieville on the South Shore is reaching first-wave-level numbers, with 120 residents and staff infected since early October.
Thirteen people have died in the outbreak, health officials said Thursday.
At least three other long-term care homes in Quebec are also dealing with outbreaks, but the province’s health minister says the situation is under control.
Compared to the first wave, the numbers overall are much lower. Fifty days into Quebec’s first wave, there were 2,700 total cases in care homes. Fifty days into the second wave, the total stands at 320.
“It's almost nine times less,” said Health Minister Christian Dubé.
“Eighty-seven per cent less people infected compared to the first wave. Is it perfect? I'd like this to be zero, but for a virus that is so diffiult to control, I think we've done a good job.”
The province’s Director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said this week that seniors were bound to be affected in the second wave, with the increase of transmission in the general population.
“It’ll end up penetrating different environments,” he said, ultimately making its way from young people to older and more vulnerable ones.
The province is taking steps right now to control the care home situation, authorities said.
Teams of specialized sanitary experts, trained by the Red Cross, have been deployed to four long-term care facilities that have high infection rates.
“Every healthcare facility is different,” said Michele Mercier of the Red Cross.
“It's a customized approach where SWAT teams come from two to ten days, depending on the strenght of the pandemic in the different organizations.”
The opposition parties said they weren’t impressed.
“Lack of preperation, lack of execution, underestimating the sitation, understimating the second wave—that is why we are here,” said Quebec Liberal leader Dominique Anglade.
“It seems to be playing the same film we played in the spring,” said Manon Masse, co-leader of Quebec Solidaire.
“It tells you there was a planning to be done during the summer and it was not done properly,” added Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, the leader of the PQ.
Despite his reassurances, Dubé said the situation is keeping him up at night and promised he won’t sleep well until things return to normal.
“The number of cases, the number of people in hospital, I take the responsibility to make it work,” he said.