For updates on Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital banning guests from delivery rooms, Quebec limiting regional travel, financial help for low income essential service workers and more, see below.
Quebec has 14 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total death count to 75 for the province as of Saturday.
The provincial government announced on Saturday the number of confirmed cases of the virus has climbed to 6,997 — an increase of 896 since Friday.
478 people are hospitalized — an increase of 49 since Friday– including 130 people in intensive care, which is an increase of eight.
83,230 test results have so far come back negative and 3,879 people are currently under investigation.
Montreal remains the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the province, accounting for 3,261 of the nearly 7,000 cases. On Thursday, the city said it was boosting its police presence and extending its state of emergency. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said authorities will not hesitate to fine people up to $1,000 for not respecting social-distancing measures.
Quebec’s public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda said on Saturday that health officials can confirm community transmission of the virus in the province.
Arruda said most people in the province who have tested positive for COVID-19 are between 40-49 years old, but most hospitalizations and deaths are of people above 70. There is one case of a person between the age of 30 and 39 who has died of the disease in Quebec, Arruda confirmed.
Government officials urged the reminder to stay home and only leave if absolutely necessary — for necessary errands or to go to work if you work in essential services. Geneviève Guilbault, the province’s deputy premier and public security minister, said if would be helpful for those working in essential services to have a letter from their employer on them when they are out in case they are stopped by police.
Officials reminded people to stay at two metres distance from others, should you must go out, to frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and to practise general rigorous sanitary measures.
Officials said Quebecers have to keep up their efforts to flatten the curb. “Let’s not forget the objective — to save lives,” said Guilbault.
Montreal’s Jewish General Hospitals bans all guests in delivery rooms
Quebec’s Health Minister Danielle McCann confirmed on Saturday that the Jewish General Hospital decided to ban all guests from delivery rooms, including fathers and all partners.
The decision was made Friday after hospital workers in the hospital’s birthing unit found out a woman’s partner lied about having symptoms to be with her during delivery.
Quebec closes travel to and from two more regions
Guilbault said police checkpoints would be added to two more regions of the province to limit non-essential travel to and from these areas: Charlevoix and Rouyn-Noranda.
These regions are added to the eight other regions that officials announced would be placed under lockdown last week. Those regions are: l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Côte-Nord, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Nord-du-Québec and the northern territories of Nunavik and Baie-James.
Guilbault said the checkpoints will be set up on the major highways outside these additional two regions of Quebec and authorities will start controlling all travel as of 4 p.m. Saturday.
She added that this move is to protect the vulnerable communities in Quebec’s more remote locations, as well as limit the spread of the virus within the province and contain it in the areas already affected.
All drivers who get stopped by authorities at the highway checkpoints will have to meet “essential travel” criteria in order to be let through.
Quebec’s low income essential service workers to get financial help
On Friday, the Quebec government announced low-income workers in essential services — such as cashiers — will receive an extra $100 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks. The measure is retroactive to March 15.
The provincial government also announced it will provide $150 million in temporary emergency funding to municipalities to aid entrepreneurs as they weather the storm.
Under the plan, Montreal will receive $40 million, and $10 million will be given to Quebec City. The remaining $100 million will be divided among other municipalities in the province.
— With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise
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