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October 6, 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.

Alarming situation

The current severity and speed of the second wave of the pandemic “is very alarming” to the minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, as Québec has been shattered, over the last two days, by the daily number of people infected by COVID-19.

“Since we announced the alert level system on September 8, the situation has evolved very, very quickly,” said the minister. He reiterated that the second wave was expected to be very different from the first, that the people infected would be younger, and that the impact of the contagion would have repercussions on the number of hospitalizations and deaths a littler later on.

“Unfortunately, we were right,” said Mr. Dubé, faced with the statistics of contagion, hospitalizations and deaths. “Hospitalizations increased by 10% today, and 15 people have died. This is no longer theoretical […] and community transmission is having an impact on the most vulnerable people.”

To illustrate his point, Mr. Dubé stressed that since September 1, there have been 120 deaths due to COVID-19 in Québec, including 50 over the last week.

Breaking the second wave

Despite the sharp increase in contagion, Minister Dubé reassured Quebecers that they can still break the second wave.

“We can turn back the wave, because it’s different from the first. In the spring, Montréal accounted for 90% of the cases. Today, all of Québec is affected. We must spread the message to people to stay home,” he said.

Minister Dubé said that other regions in Québec could move into the maximum alert level (red).

 Planning for the redeployment of care

Minister Dubé stated that hospitals will be forced to redeploy healthcare workers in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases, due to staff shortages in hospitals.

However, the minister reassured Quebecers that redeployment would not be as massive as in the spring, and that instead of closing five out of five operating rooms, for example, some will remain open for scheduled surgeries in addition to urgent surgeries.

New rapid testing

The federal minister of Public Services and Procurement, Anita Anand, announced that the Canadian government has signed an agreement to purchase 20.5 million rapid COVID-19 antigenic tests that have just been approved by Health Canada.

The supply agreement was concluded with U.S. and German pharmaceutical companies.