The novel coronavirus pandemic has led to another 41 deaths in Quebec, bringing the total number of fatalities to 216 as of Thursday.
Premier François Legault said during his daily briefing that there are 10,912 confirmed COVID-19 cases — up 881 from the previous day.
“There are a few days before reaching the peak, the summit,” he said “So, unfortunately, we expect that there will be more increases in the coming days. Then, after that, it should decrease. So we are in line with our forecasts.”
The vast majority of victims are over the age of 70. When it comes to fatalities, Legault said 106 of the victims lived in long-term care facilities (CHSLDs) and he stressed the importance of safeguarding seniors.
“We have a duty to protect them,” he said.
There are six long-term care facilities where the situation is critical and where the majority of deaths occurred:
- CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée in Laval: 16 deaths
- CHSLD Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci in Montreal: 13 deaths
- CHSLD LaSalle in Montreal: seven deaths
- CHSLD Alfred-Desrochers in Montreal: five deaths
- CHSLD Laflèche in the Montérégie: 20 deaths
- CHSLD de La Pinière in Laval: 10 deaths
“I know there’s a lot of concern about senior residences at the moment, but I don’t want Quebecers to think that the situation is critical everywhere,” he said.
As a result, the government is working to deploy additional resources and health-care professionals to facilities hard hit by the disease. It is also boosting the salary of staff in private residences.
Legault also noted that the number of hospitalizations and patients in intensive is beginning to stabilize. In Quebec, 679 people are in hospital and 196 patients are in intensive care.
The premier described it as “good news” adding numbers line up with public health officials’ models released earlier this week.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted on Thursday that the country won’t return to “normality” for maybe a year until a vaccine is available. Legault, for his part, stressed that returning to a normal life won’t happen overnight.
“It will take months,” he said.
In Montreal, where roughly half of the province’s cases are located, public health said on Wednesday projections show the number of cases is nearing its peak.
Mylène Drouin, director of Montreal public health, said that hospitalizations are likely to rise as infections reach their highest number.
The City of Montreal has also extended its state of emergency for an additional five days. The measure, which came into effect on March 27, was first issued to provide better services for the homeless.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante also announced on Wednesday that the city will be boosting police presence over the holiday week to ensure the public is respecting physical distancing.
— With files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier, Jamie Orchard and the Canadian Press