Quebec health minister designates 4 hospitals to treat patients diagnosed with coronavirus

Click to play video 'Two Montreal area hospitals have been earmarked as the primary care facilities in the event of a coronavirus outbreak' Two Montreal area hospitals have been earmarked as the primary care facilities in the event of a coronavirus outbreak
WATCH: Two hospitals in Quebec City as well as the Jewish General Hospital and Sainte-Justine Children's Hospital are each equipped with negative pressure chambers, which could be used to treat eventual coronavirus patients. As Global's Olivia O'Malley explains, the Montreal area hospitals say they're ready to take on patients should the need arise. – Feb 7, 2020

Quebec’s health ministry has announced that four hospitals in the province have been designated to treat patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

Two of the hospitals — Jewish General and Sainte-Justine — are in Montreal, while the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute and the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université Laval are located in Quebec City.

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The hospitals were chosen for their expertise in dealing with infectious diseases.

The Jewish General Hospital told Global News it’s ready to receive patients.

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The 10th floor of the hospital is equipped with negative pressure rooms designed to treat patients with diseases such as influenza.

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The negative pressure in the room allows for air to flow into the isolated chambers while preventing contaminated air from escaping.

Hospital officials say it was built a few years ago with the idea of being able to respond to a pandemic.

That being said, however, Health Minister Danielle McCann reiterated that no cases have been diagnosed in Quebec and that no one is under investigation.

McCann said while the risk remains low for Quebecers to contract the virus, the province remains on high alert.

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The health minister said anyone experiencing symptoms of coronavirus — which are similar to those of the flu — can still head to their local clinic or hospital.

“They have received the information, they are equipped to evaluate you and diagnose you,” she said, adding that the designated hospitals will receive patients who have been diagnosed with the virus and require hospitalization.

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On Thursday, the province’s public health director issued an appeal to travellers arriving from Hubei province in China to go into voluntary quarantine for 14 days.

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“It’s an additional measure of protection,” McCann said. “We know there’s just a few people coming in from China to Canada, and to Quebec it’s even less.”

Since the outbreak was first reported to the World Health Organization in December, the coronavirus has sickened more than 30,000 and killed at least 638 in China.

–With a file from Global’s Emerald Bensadoun and Rachael D’Amore