COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know on Sunday

The latest:

  • Quebec has 37,721 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 2,928 people have died, an increase of 142 from yesterday’s numbers.
    Both the number of people in hospital (1,831) and the number in intensive care (199) dropped slightly from yesterday. Here’s a guide to the numbers.
  • Elementary schools and daycares outside the Montreal area reopen on Monday. They’ve been closed since March 16.
  • The Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Outaouais, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and parts of the Mauricie will have travel restrictions lifted on Monday. Here’s a guide to navigating the travel restrictions. 
  • The reopening of schools, daycares and businesses in Montreal has been postponed to May 25.
  • Mount-Royal Cemetery will be open to visitors exceptionally today, Mother’s Day. Regional health authorities have also provided guidelines for sending flowers and gifts to seniors in long-term care.

There has been a sizeable outbreak of COVID-19 among workers at a Quebec meat-processing plant owned by the American agri-food giant Cargill.

The company’s plant near High River, in Southern Alberta, was the site of the largest coronavirus outbreak in North America to date. So far more than 1,500 cases and two deaths have been tied to that one facility.

The outbreak at Cargill’s plant in Chambly, Que., about 35 kilometres southeast of Montreal, appears to be smaller. The company said Sunday that 64 workers have been infected.

Concerns mount as travel restrictions lifted 

Another round of confinement measures will be lifted on Monday. Elementary schools and daycares outside the greater Montreal area will see children for the first time since March 16. 

In Montreal, where infections are higher than in Quebec’s other regions, schools and daycares won’t reopen until at least May 25.  

Along with the schools reopening, several more regions will lift travel restrictions on Monday, including Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Outaouais, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and parts of the Mauricie.

They join the Laurentians, Lanaudière, Chaudière-Appalaches, and the area around Rouyn-Noranda.​​​​​ which had their restrictions lifted last week. 

But in the regions set to reopen, there is concern that the province is moving too quickly. In the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean area, more than 5,000 people have signed a petition calling for the travel restrictions to remain in place until the end of June or early July.

In La Tuque, a town about 330 kilometres northeast of Montreal, Mayor Pierre-David Tremblay has been urging the government to leave the travel restrictions in place a little longer, and only remove them gradually.

“We’re going from everything to nothing,” Tremblay told Radio-Canada. 

In the Lower Saint-Lawrence, a region scheduled to see its travel restrictions removed on May 18, some 20,000 people have signed a petition against the government’s plan.

“I don’t think the conditions are there to allow us to remove the barriers, but we’ll leave the decision to public health officials,” said Michel Lagac, who heads a regional body representing local politicians.

Guidelines for a safe Mother’s Day

Retail stores outside the Montreal area opened last week, but must follow several public health guidelines. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

It’s Mother Day, and regional health authorities are offering guidelines about how to show love for those inside long-term care centres, also known as CHSLDs. 

The CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal says that family members are allowed to drop off gifts like flowers and food.

“However, it is recommended that the flowers be wrapped and that the gifts, including home-cooked meals, have a surface that can be disinfected (ex: box of chocolates),” a spokesperson said. 

The CIUSSS also specified that visits are only permitted on humanitarian grounds for people in palliative and end-of-life care and no symptomatic visitors will be allowed in.

Visits to CHSLDs, and other seniors’ residences, have been heavily restricted since the outset of the pandemic. 

Those rules will be loosened somewhat on Monday. Regular caregivers will be allowed back into long-term care facilities, as long as they meet certain conditions. 

Caregivers must, for instance, have been regularly looking after their senior before the pandemic and must wear personal protective equipment inside the facility.

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