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October 22, 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.

Québec Premier François Legault fears that the worst of the second wave is yet to come. He reiterated that Europe experienced the first wave and the second wave before us. Currently, the figures in terms of the number of cases of contagion, hospitalizations and deaths in Europe are up to three times higher than here.

Mr. Legault noted that in Québec, over the last several days, the number of people infected daily has hovered around 1,000 cases. Despite calls to reduce contacts and the many tightening measures introduced since October 1, the rate of contagion has not decreased.

“With 1,000 new cases daily, our health network cannot cope with the consequences (of increased hospitalizations),” said the premier.

With winter approaching and the flu season, Mr. Legault is predicting that the situation will take a turn for the worse. “Québec is not shielded from what’s happening elsewhere,” he said.

Reducing contacts

With the current numbers of COVID-19 cases, Premier Legault warned that there is very little chance that the isolation measures will be lifted, and that restaurants, bars and gyms will reopen after October 28. The same applies to sports activities.

“I haven’t changed my resolve: health comes first, and the rest comes after. If we can’t control the pandemic, everything else goes out the window. I need every Quebecer to be on board,” said the premier.

The current situation is very fragile. Premier Legault sees it as a fine balance. “We have to find additional measures because after three weeks, we’re still hovering around 1,000 cases daily,” he said. The solution is still the same in his opinion: reduce social contacts in order to reduce contagion.

The situation in CHSLDs

The minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, said that he is still worried about the situation in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) due to the persistently high rate of contagion, which could directly impact the most vulnerable people.

Minister Dubé pointed out, however, that the current situation is not in any way comparable to what Québec experienced in the spring. “After 50 days, during the first wave, 2,700 people were infected with COVID-19 in some one hundred CHSLDs. On the 50th day of the second wave, 320 people are infected in 40 CHSLDs.”