Coronavirus: Quebec public health officials closely monitoring situation in Côte Saint-Luc

Quebec public health officials closely monitoring coronavirus situation in Côte Saint-Luc
Last week, the city of Côte Saint-Luc declared a state of emergency and banned religious gatherings after COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the community. But as Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, those measures might not be enough to contain the spread of the virus.

Just over a week ago, the city of Côte Saint-Luc, an on-island Montreal suburb, declared a state of emergency after several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Religious gatherings were banned and residents were encouraged to practice social distancing.

Outdoor playgrounds have also been closed, as have dog runs, all in a bid to avoid gatherings and slow the spread of the virus.

READ MORE: Côte Saint-Luc urging public to take precautions after COVID-19 cases confirmed in community

But those measures may not be enough, according to Quebec’s public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda, who hasn’t ruled out putting the city under quarantine.

“We’re actually doing an analysis with the director of public health in Montreal and see what could be applicable to lower the risk of exportation,” he said on Thursday.

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For now, however, Arruda is saying people should avoid going there if they don’t need to.

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Other measures could be put in place in the coming days if warranted.

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“If we need to add other things to do, like, in relation with transport and everything, we’re going to do specific actions in the next days,” she said.

“Perhaps not tomorrow, but we are following the situation day by day.”

Meanwhile a new drive-thru screening facility to test patients for COVID-19 is being set up at the Cavendish Mall. It’s expected to become operational by Sunday.

Coronavirus: Some Côte Saint-Luc residents uneasy with location of new drive-thru screening clinic
Coronavirus: Some Côte Saint-Luc residents uneasy with location of new drive-thru screening clinic

The community has been hit hard with recent outbreaks at the King David residence and at the Congregation Beth Chabad synagogue.

Montreal’s regional director of public health Dre. Mylène Drouin said Wednesday that 42 per cent of positive cases in Montreal were concentrated in the territory serviced by the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal health network, which includes Côte Saint-Luc.

Drouin said it’s not known why the cases seem to be concentrated in one area, but public health authorities are investigating each case.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Montreal has close to 50% of Quebec’s COVID-19 cases

The situation, however, is concerning because one-third of residents are over the age of 65.

“It is really important I think in this neighbourhood to make sure the recommendations that have been put in place are well-respected,” she said.

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Nearby, the intensive care unit at the Jewish General Hospital, which falls under the jurisdiction of the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, is reaching capacity.

But Arruda had reassuring words.

“We decided to concentrate the initial phase at this hospital but we have a lot more intensive care beds that can be used,” he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 782 positive cases in Montreal, up from 603 cases on Wednesday.

— With files from Global’s Raquel Fletcher, Kalina Laframboise and Brayden Jagger Haines