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October 20, 2020 – Federal and provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

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

High rate of spread

While contagion is currently under control in Québec, with an average of 1,000 cases a day, the goal now is to reduce the rate of spread, which has not yet been achieved. Québec Premier Legault reiterated that the government was concerned that the rate of contagion would reach 2,000 or even 3,000 cases a day, which is not the case right now.

Despite the stabilization in the number of people infected each day for the last three weeks, hospitalizations are on the rise and there are new COVID-19-related deaths every day.

Outbreaks in the workplace

The national director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, confirmed that contagion in Québec right now is mostly occurring in the workplace.

Close to half (46%) of outbreaks are occurring in the workplace and Dr. Arruda explained that this phenomenon is related to the fact that health and physical distancing measures have not been as stringently followed in the last few months.

Dr. Arruda announced that the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) will resume workplace inspections to ensure that the health practices in place to contain the pandemic are followed.

CHSLDs under surveillance

While the situation is less serious than in the spring, outbreaks in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) continue to be a source of concern for public authorities.

Dr. Arruda reiterated that it is “unthinkable that there would never be any cases in CHSLDs and seniors’ homes. […] What’s important it to prevent a surge.”

Visiting people who live alone

Premier Legault acknowledged that the situation is difficult and that the measures in place are challenging, particularly for youth who are not able to play sports and socialize at school. This is equally true for students at the CEGEP and university levels as well as for people who live alone, and who also merit special attention.

“People who live alone have the right to receive one visitor at a time,” reiterated Mr. Legault, who encouraged people to visit them to help break their isolation.

Vigilance required around Internet misinformation

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on Canadians to be vigilant with respect to the disinformation and falsehoods about the pandemic circulating on the Internet.

“There are people out there who want to undermine our confidence in our institutions,” said Mr. Trudeau, and he called on the population to be “very vigilant” as to what is said on the Web and to compare sources of information in order to be sure “they make well informed decisions.”

He reiterated that the pandemic is a health crisis “requiring us to respect” Public Health rules.