Coronavirus: Montreal provides updates amid growing number of COVID-19 cases

WATCH ABOVE: Montreal public health officials provide update on COVID-19

Montreal public health officials, along with Mayor Valérie Plante, announced that the City of Montreal has 28 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon.

Two patients are currently in intensive care, but no deaths have been reported in the city.

Health officials say they are following 200 cases in order to isolate them and avoid the spread of the virus.

READ MORE: Amid COVID-19 pandemic, many Montreal travellers feeling the effects of closed borders

“My army is ready,” said Mylène Drouin, director of Montreal Public Health.

Part of her “army” was deployed to Montreal-Pierre Trudeau International Airport on March 16 to inform travellers about the virus and the need to isolate themselves for 14 days.

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But as international borders close, those workers will now be re-allocated to the investigation of cases.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Montreal seniors defying Quebec’s order to stay home during COVID-19 pandemic

Plante reiterated the importance of closing places of worship and called upon spiritual leaders to help enforce the message.

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“Whatever your religious belief, it’s not the time to get together. We definitely need to follow the rules,” Plante said.

The mayor also asked that seniors stay home, given the demographic displays the highest rate of mortality.

Sainte-Justine Hospital puts in place a drive-thru screening service for patients

In Montreal, Sainte-Justine Hospital announced it has put in place a drive-thru screening service for patients.

Motorists, as well as pedestrians, will have access to the service.

The children’s hospital says advantages of having an outside drive-thru is twofold: it can lower the risk of contagion inside the building and allows for more patients to be screened.

The service is available daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. by appointment only.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Quebec: who to call, where to go and where not to go

To get an appointment, patients must go through the government’s 811 line. The hospital says the screening service is currently only available to minors who have returned from a trip and are exhibiting symptoms.

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This comes as the hospital confirmed on Thursday afternoon that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

An internal investigation has been carried out to retrace patients and other hospital staff who came into direct contact with the affected employee.

In a news release Sainte-Justine officials said that concerned individuals have been contacted and are in isolation at home.

Earlier in the day, Premier François Legault said the number of cases of novel coronavirus in the province had jumped to 121.

The premier reiterated his message urging people to stay home.

As of Thursday, about 4,000 people province-wide were awaiting test results for COVID-19.

READ MORE: Quebec urges limited travel between regions amid 121 confirmed coronavirus cases

The Quebec government is also reporting on its website that a person who contracted novel coronavirus was in the children’s section of the public library in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, located on Botrel Street, on March 11, between 4:30 p.m. and 6.

Other people who may have been in the children’s section at the same time are being asked to watch for possible symptoms such as fever, coughing and breathing difficulties up to March 25.

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Montreal librairies have since been shut down to limit the spread of the virus.

— With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise and Gloria Henriquez

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