COVID-19 in Quebec: Red Cross sets up beds in LaSalle arena

The latest:

  • Quebec has 21,838 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 1,243 people have died. The majority were residents of long-term care institutions and other seniors’ homes.
  • There are 1,411 people in hospital, including 207 in intensive care. Here’s a guide to the numbers.
  • The Red Cross is setting up beds in a LaSalle arena to treat residents of long-term care homes.
  • Quebec will release details on how it will ease restrictions next week. The process is expected to start May 4.
  • The Lower North Shore region hasn’t had a new COVID-19 case in two weeks, but opening it up may mean an influx of tourists who could bring infection with them.

The Red Cross is installing dozens of beds at an arena in Montreal’s LaSalle borough to treat the residents of long-term care homes overwhelmed by the outbreak.

The local health board, the CIUSSS de de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, asked the Red Cross for help more than a week ago, when the situation at the Herron private CHSLD in Dorval escalated to the point where residents were left untended to for hours and the death toll had risen to 31. 

About 40 beds are being set up at the Jacques-Lemaire arena near LaSalle Hospital. 

Many of the province’s long-term care homes and seniors’ residences have struggled to contain the virus and basic care has suffered.

Their residents account for more than 20 per cent of the positive COVID-19 cases in the province and 80 per cent of the deaths due to the illness. 

A doctor at the Jewish General Hospital called the situation in the homes a “humanitarian crisis.”. 

Premier François Legault says there is enough protective equipment to go around in Quebec’s health-care facilities, but workers in the long-term care homes say they still aren’t being given enough to properly prevent the spread of infection. 

The Red Cross is setting up about 40 beds at the Jacques Lemaire arena near LaSalle Hospital to treat residents of long-term care facilities who have COVID-19. (Radio-Canada)

One nurse described seeing some staff at a private residence in western Montreal working in jeans and T-shirts or simple scrubs. In one case, she said, she saw a worker with a blanket wrapped around them as a makeshift gown.

In addition to a shortage of protective equipment, the shortage of staff keeps getting worse.

On Thursday, Legault said 9,500 health-care workers are now absent from the job. In the preceding 24 hours, he said, 800 fewer people had shown up to work. 

Roughly 4,000 of those workers have the coronavirus. Legault asked those who are healthy to return to work as soon as their 14-day quaratine is over. 

“We need you,” he pleaded. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday 350 Armed Forces members are assisting in Quebec and more are on the way. 

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