Quebec’s premier is stressing that the province’s health-care system is ready to handle the novel coronavirus pandemic as cases soared to 3,430 and the death toll rose to 25 on Monday.
Three more Quebecers are dead and the number of COVID-19 cases was up 590 from the previous day, according to François Legault.
The illness has led to 235 hospitalizations and 78 individuals are in intensive care. While the virus is spreading, Legault had no hesitation in saying that the health-care network is still prepared.
“Our health-care system is under control,” he said.
The Quebec government is also tightening restrictions once again in hopes of slowing down the spread of COVID-19.
Businesses — including grocery stores — are prohibited from operating on Sundays throughout the month of April. However, other essential services such as pharmacies, gas stations and restaurant takeouts will remain open.
“It will be an opportunity for our workers to get some rest,” Legault said.
The premier also took the time to address the public on the topic of mental health. As the crisis deepens, Legault said he knows people may be feeling anxious or stressed.
Those who are suffering should seek help or consult with their physicians, he added.
“If you don’t feel good, I want to tell Quebecers there is no shame,” he said. “It’s just as important as physical health.”
Emergency assistance for seniors
Long-term care facilities and seniors residences in Quebec will receive up to $133 million in emergency funding in the fight against the disease.
The province announced the measure to help seniors and vulnerable people earlier on Monday amid a jump in cases.
The money will go towards hiring staff and buying more protective gear and disinfectants in those facilities, according to the minister responsible for seniors and caregivers.
“We are giving ourselves the means to take better care of our seniors and, above all, better protect them,” said Marguerite Blais in a statement.
Legault said on Sunday that the government plans to add more resources to facilities that care for seniors since they are most at risk for COVID-19.
Quebec puts up online platform for students
The province’s education ministry has launched an online platform for elementary and high school students.
The website, which went live on Monday, will provide new content every week. However, the activities are not mandatory and they will not be graded.
“You will find thousands of resources to learn, create, have fun and move, just like at school,” Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said on the website.
The initiative comes as Quebec schools are closed until May to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
— With files from Global News’ Alessia Simona Maratta and the Canadian Press