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August 13, 2020 – Provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Québec government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outbreaks cause for concern

Québec Premier François Legault is concerned about two major outbreaks of COVID-19 infection. The first occurred in a box store in Québec City where eight staff members were infected. The second occurred in a seniors’ residence in Joliette where 20 residents and three staff members were infected.

“I’m calling on all employees and all customers at Costco Lebourgneuf to go get tested.  We have created a management unit for these cases,” he said. As for the outbreak in the Joliette residence, an investigation is underway to determine the cause.

The premier repeated that there will be other outbreaks, particularly if there is a second wave of the pandemic this fall.

Catching up on postponed surgeries

The government leader is pleased with the progress that has been made in catching up on the surgeries that were postponed in the spring in Québec’s hospitals.

“We’re ahead of schedule. We’ve managed to reduce the waiting lists faster than anticipated,” said Mr. Legault.

Food self-sufficiency

Mr. Legault is relying on a pilot economic project that is being tested through local development centres (CLDs) and Investissement Québec to improve food self-sufficiency in Québec, the limitations of which were laid bare this spring due to the pandemic.

The premier stated that he was concerned this spring that Québec would not be able to obtain sufficient quantities of fruits and vegetables from the United States. This was also the case for meat, particularly beef from Western Canada.

“I want to double the capacity of Québec’s greenhouses so that we can grow during the winter,” he said.

Mr. Legault would also like Québec to produce its own beef, particularly in Abitibi where he was today, because land there is still available and affordable. He noted, however, that there is a shortage of slaughterhouses in Québec.

Regional transportation

The pandemic has also had a major impact on transportation services in the regions and led Air Canada to cut regional connections. There has also been a significant reduction in coach services.

Mr. Legault considers these essential services and said that Québec is prepared to subsidize a portion of the costs in order to guarantee a minimum frequency at a reasonable price for people in the regions.