Montreal public health officials have confirmed the first coronavirus-related death in the city.
Dre. Mylène Drouin, Regional Director of Public Health for Montreal, said the patient was a senior citizen but did not provide further information on the specific case.
Drouin deliverd the news at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, where she provided a general portrait of the situation surrounding the pandemic in the region.
There are currently 603 cases in Montreal which represents about 45 per cent of cases in the province. There are 40 people who are hospitalized and seven of them are in intensive care.
There are two outbreaks, one in a long-term care centre, or CHSLD, where there are five cases, and and another in a health care facility where there are over 30 health care workers that are infected, according to Drouin.
She said that both situations are being investigated.
There is also an important concentration of cases in the territory serviced by the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal health network which includes Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Montreal West, Town of Mount Royal, Westmount, Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Parc Extension, Outremont, and parts of the Plateau Mont-Royal and Ville-Marie boroughs.
The territory has over 42 per cent of all the cases in the region.
Drouin said it was difficult at this stage to explain the concentration of cases in that area.
“Have there been more screenings, more travelling, more people who came back from travelling — snowbirds, for example? Are there specific groups? Do we have family clusters?” she said, adding that it wasn’t possible yet to identify any specific outbreaks to the territory.
While Drouin admitted there are cases of community transmission on the island, over 50 per cent of cases are associated with someone coming back from a trip.
“And the vast majority of the rest, are people who had contact with people who had travelled,” she said.
While all age groups are represented, close to 50 per cent of cases involve people over 50 years old and very few cases are attributed to those under the age of 18.
Drouin also said most of the cases are in men, with 56 per cent.
The most frequent symptoms reported in 75 per cent of the cases include coughing, fever and overwhelming fatigue.
Montreal’s first drive-thru clinic in the Quartier des Spectacle, which opened on Monday, has already evaluated 3,000 people, 2,400 of whom have been tested, Drouin said.
Another drive-thru sceening clinic was being set up in Côte Saint-Luc on Wednesday. It is expected to be operational by Sunday, with the ability to screen 500 patients a day.
Drouin said each positive case is being investigated by teams with the public health department to trace contacts, identify if there’s a cluster, and if the proper measures are in place in the community.
“It is part of our overall strategy to reduce the risks and flatten the curve,” she said, adding that the collaboration of the public is vital.
“It’s important to give us the information and tell us the truth.”
Drouin concluded by reminding travellers of the importance of going into self-isolation for 14 days, citing the high number of Canadians returning home from abroad.
“Just yesterday we had over 9,000 passengers on international flights or people coming back from the States; today it’s 4,000,” she said.
“We can not allow ourselves to import new cases to Montreal or the rest of Quebec.”