The regions of Montreal and Quebec are “very, very, close to a red zone,” according to Quebec’s health minister, and should change alert levels soon. “We will announce it in the next few days,” Christian Dubé said Sunday evening, after a day when the number of new contaminations detected in the metropolis and in Quebec reached a new high since the spring.
“Tough decisions for bars and restaurants” will also be taken, he also said live on the set. Everybody talks about it. For the moment, no region of Quebec is officially considered to be on maximum alert yet.
“The principle is going to be: ‘stay at home’. We are going to demand a significant social sacrifice, ”added Minister Dubé, who qualifies the next 28 days as“ very difficult ”. The precise game plan was to be “finalized in the next few hours”.
The City of Montreal is ready to go on “maximum alert” in order to fight on equal terms with COVID-19, declared Valérie Plante a little earlier, in an interview with the Duty. “Obviously, as decision-makers, we want to avoid having to interfere in people’s lives, but this is starting to heat up,” she said before Minister Dubé’s announcement.
The color of each region is chosen based on several factors, including the number of new cases reported each day. To be in the red zone, a region must in particular exceed the threshold of 10 daily cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Across Quebec, 896 new cases were reported on Sunday, the equivalent of 10.6 per 100,000 people. In the Montreal region, the situation was even more critical: there were 375 new patients, or 18.3 per 100,000 people – a peak in nearly five months. The bar associated with the red threshold had been crossed a few times in the last few days in the metropolis, but never as strongly as on the weekend.
On Sunday, 4 deaths were also reported in Quebec, including 2 in the last 24 hours. The total number of hospitalizations fell by one person to 216. Both indicators have been trending upwards since mid-September.
“We are on an upward slope, very obviously. Exponential, maybe not, explains Dre Caroline Quach-Thanh, microbiologist-infectious disease specialist at Sainte-Justine Hospital, in Montreal. To regain control, you have to find contacts, test massively and give the results quickly. “
Before decreeing that a region falls into a red zone, the authorities consider not only the number of new cases, but also – among other things – the proportion of positive tests, the average number of contacts of new cases, the occupation of beds in intensive care and the number of new hospitalizations. The decision ultimately depends on qualitative information from epidemiological surveys and regional public health directors.
In the red zones, the authorities can apply in a “targeted manner more restrictive measures, which can go as far as stopping non-essential activities”, according to Quebec. “Unnecessary social contact” such as gatherings with family or friends is discouraged.
If she awaits the precise rules of Public Health and the Government of Quebec, the mayoress of Montreal reserves the right to make during this state of health emergency “specific actions” to reduce COVID-19, as she does. did so by forcing the wearing of masks in closed public places before the Legault government.
“The other step could be to start shutting down certain areas if they are deemed to be causing more outbreaks,” she said, citing sports clubs, bars and restaurants as examples.
The tam-tam are heard
In the streets and parks of Montreal, the atmosphere was not at all panic on Sunday afternoon. At least, according to people who have decided to take advantage of the almost summer day when they leave their homes.
“I have the impression that the majority of people have accepted the pandemic as a new reality. This is no longer surprising. The anxiety is less than in the spring, that’s for sure, “said Olivier Boivin, a 26-year-old student leaning over his mathematics notebook at Jeanne-Mance Park.
“We avoid them, gatherings, but here, in the open air, there is no problem,” emphasizes Pierre Borduas, a 74-year-old man who came to listen to the famous Mount Royal drums before the event. winter does not set in. He and his wife were sitting in the grass a good distance from the other groups.
The percussionists gathered in Jeanne-Mance Park were not, however, so far from each other. The police also issued warnings over the microphone, without much movement in the crowd. Dozens of people were however brought together in a compact group.
Other citizens interviewed were outright critical of the health measures imposed by the government. “I am glad that we have a beautiful day like today to remind us to fight for our freedom and the future of our children,” said Alexia Lawson, a 28-year-old who was picnicking with her family.
Elsewhere in town, life took its course in an atmosphere miles from that of spring. Near a creamery, dozens of customers lined up to get a cone.
“This second wave is less scary. Hope we learned something from the first one. However, I must say that I do not have any faith in schools or in public health at all, ”notes Jenny Burnam, mother of two children, as well as a 50-year-old university professor who passed her after graduation. grocery store on avenue du Parc.
According to the Dre Quach-Thanh, it is not “humanly possible” for Public Health to find all the people who have been in close contact with a patient. To overcome it, she believes, we must equip it with the right technological tools.
“We need to know, for example, who went to a restaurant X on that day. You have to be able to know who was there at the same time, ”she argues. She suggests considering the implementation of an application allowing managers of public places to log visitors. “These digital lists don’t need to be accessible to everyone and might even automatically delete themselves after a while,” she says.
Legault comes out of his isolation
The Premier of Quebec, François Legault, took stock “virtually” Sunday on the progression of COVID-19 in Quebec with representatives of Public Health.
Mr. Legault’s voluntary isolation ends at noon Monday, two weeks after his meeting with the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Erin O’Toole. Mr. Legault could hold a press briefing in Montreal on Monday afternoon before heading to parliament, where he will answer questions from opposition parties on Tuesday.
It’s starting to heat up