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Coronavirus: Quebec cases surpass 18,000, deaths climb to 877

Montreal remains the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, counting 8,457 cases as of Sunday. (AP File Photo/Susan Walsh)

The COVID-19 crisis has now claimed 877 lives in Quebec, with an additional 72 deaths announced on Saturday. The number of confirmed cases in the province has risen to 18,357.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are down, with 1,102 people in hospital on Sunday. On Saturday there were over 1,130 people in hospital in the province.

The number of people in intensive care has also gone down from Saturday to Sunday — from 258 to 183.

Officials say 2,905 people are currently under investigation while more than 3,555 people who previously tested positive for COVID-19 have fully recovered. Over 145,190 tests have come back negative.

Montreal remains the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, counting 8,457 cases as of Sunday.

Montreal orderly dies of COVID-19

The Canadian Union of Public Employees announced on Saturday the death of an orderly who worked at Grace Dart Extended Care Centre in Montreal. The health-care worker had over 25 years of experience in the field.

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“Our thoughts are above all with the family and colleagues and we convey our sincere condolences to them,” said Jonathan Deschamps, president of the 2881 union.

“We also want to emphasize the vocation of this worker. In the most difficult circumstances, she was devoted to the residents and their fate was dear to her. In recent times, she has worked several additional shifts to meet [the] needs,” he added.

Her last shift was on April 11, according to the press release.

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Canadian Forces arrive at Montreal seniors’ residences, health authorities train volunteers

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed to a public long-term care residence in Montreal on Saturday.

Residences all over Montreal are having trouble keeping up with basic needs like feeding and changing seniors. Canadian soldiers with medical experience are being asked to assist.

Another type of reinforcement is also on the way to some seniors’ residences in Montreal. The West Island CIUSSS has teamed up with the Canadian Red Cross to train volunteers and new staff to help out in long-term care facilities.

Former-Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean’s aunt dies of COVID-19 in Montreal long-term care home

On Saturday, Canada’s former-Governor General Michaëlle Jean said her aunt passed away from COVID-19 at a long-term care residence in Montreal.

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“The family could neither assist nor accompany her in her last moments,” she wrote in a tweet.

Quebec premier takes ‘full responsibility’ after situation in nursing homes ‘deteriorated’

On Friday, Premier François Legault said the province’s priority remains protecting seniors in overburdened long-term care facilities.

Legault, who has repeatedly described the situation in long-term care homes as critical, said on Friday that he has spent days and nights asking himself what he could have done differently.

The premier admitted he should have raised the salaries of frontline workers in nursing homes earlier as the province’s coronavirus death toll and case numbers continued to rise.

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The shortages of staff for nursing homes predated the health crisis by years.

“I take full responsibility,” he said. “We entered this crisis badly equipped and the situation deteriorated.”

There is a growing lack of workers in overwhelmed centres, he added. More than 1,800 staff members are absent due to illness or because they are unwilling to work for fear of being infected as of Friday, according to Legault.

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