- Quebec has 20,965 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 1,134 people have died — the majority, residents of long-term care institutions and other seniors’ homes.
- There are 1,278 people in hospital, including 199 in intensive care. Here’s a guide to the numbers.
- Quebec will release details on how it will ease restrictions next week. The process is expected to start May 4.
- A patients’ rights group is filing a human rights complaint for how long-term care homes have handled the spread of COVID-19.
- Director of Public Health Dr. Horacio Arruda says guidelines on wearing masks are coming later this week.
A patients’ rights group has made a human rights complaint against the province’s long-term care homes for their treatment of residents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It says the residents have faced discrimination and exploitation in the lack of care provided by the homes.
“Some seniors are not getting minimum health care services which is required by virtue of our Constitution and Charter of Rights,” said Paul Brunet, the president of the Quebec Council for the Protection of Patients.
“They are not treated humanely. They’re not respected. They are infringed in their right to integrity, security and dignity.”
In 2018, the same group launched a class-action lawsuit targeting all the government-run CHSLD care facilities in the province, which house around 37,000 people.
The lawsuit was approved in 2019, but still hasn’t been heard in Quebec Superior Court.
In light of the unfolding situation at the homes with the pandemic, Brunet says the group decided to make a complaint to Quebec’s Human Rights Commission.
“We thought a complaint … would be the best, the fastest and certainly the most relevant way of telling and asking the commissioner for a statement and eventually for monetary compensation for patients,” Brunet said.
Without sufficient personnel, COVID-19 spread rapidly through dozens of facilities, especially those in the Montreal area.
As more and more staff have come into contact with the virus and been forced into isolation, many long-term care homes have been unable to provide residents with the most basic level of care.
Health Minister Danielle McCann said up to 4,000 health-care workers have fallen ill and more than half of that number are still needed in long-term care homes.
On Wednesday, Premier François Legault said he requested another 1,000 military troops come help in the homes.
The rising death toll among seniors in care, however, puts the province on pace to surpass the most optimistic scenario presented by public health experts earlier this month: 1,263 deaths by April 30.
When calculated as a rate per 1 million residents, Quebec is faring worse than the United States at similar stages in the pandemic’s evolution.
Legault described the pandemic in Quebec as existing in two worlds: the beleaguered CHSLDs and seniors’ homes, and the rest of the population where community transmission is decreasing.
He said the government will release details next week about how and when the lockdown and other restrictions imposed due to the pandemic will be relaxed.
Reopening the province poses ethical questions, such as how to balance the desire to remove restrictions with the fact that the coronavirus will still be circulating, given that no vaccine is likely to be available for at least 12 to 18 months.