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Coronavirus: Quebec counts 69 more deaths, cases climb above 24,100

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Coronavirus: Quebec government pushing to reopen schools, economy – Apr 24, 2020

For updates on Quebec’s progressive reopening of schools, Montreal’s new field hospital and the government’s call for help in long-term care homes, see below.

The COVID-19 crisis has now claimed 1,515 lives in Quebec, with an additional 69 deaths announced on Sunday — the lowest daily number in nearly a week.

The number of confirmed cases in the province has climbed to 24,107, which is an additional 840 new cases compared to Saturday.

There are 1,518 people in hospital with the virus, including 215 in intensive care.

According to officials, 2,810 people are currently under investigation while more than 5,340 people who previously tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered. Over 171,470 tests have come back negative.

Montreal remains the epicentre of the outbreak in the province, counting 11,621 cases as of Sunday.

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About 80 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in the province have taken place in long-term care and seniors’ residences, which are suffering the worst of the health crisis.

Quebec set to announce progressive return to class for students

The provincial government will present its plan to get kids back to school and daycare on Monday, outlining the first part of the province’s timeline for getting activities and businesses up and running again.

Premier François Legault has said he expected outlying regions of the province less impacted by COVID-19 to be the first to resume activities and parents wouldn’t be obliged to send their kids back to school.

The finer details of Legault’s plan are expected to be laid out Monday.

So far, children have been shown to be less at risk for coronavirus complications, but a potential reopening of schools and daycares have left some parents, teachers and their professional unions with concerns.

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Legault has however stressed that parents can keep their kids at home.

The Quebec English School Boards Association urged the province to use national or international guidelines, including clear benchmarking, to address the pandemic.

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Among several recommendations by the association includes a more robust distance-learning plan, following the lead of other jurisdictions.

Legault has nixed the idea of sending one million school children back simultaneously in September, calling it too risky.

Among those in favour of a return to school before too long is the association representing Quebec pediatricians, who said in a letter that a gradual reopening is necessary for the well-being of kids.

They said there’s already been a mental and physical impact of prolonged confinement: a dip in calls to youth protection, depriving kids of a safety net provided by daycares and school and fewer young children being vaccinated.

Legault’s office issued a statement Saturday that its plan will be crafted under the direction of the province’s Public Health Department.

Montreal turns hockey arena into field hospital

LaSalle’s Jacques Lemaire arena in Montreal has been transformed into a makeshift hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.

The West Island Health Authority (CIUSSS) teamed up with the Red Cross to erect fully-equipped tents on what would be the arena’s ice surface. The tents have been used as makeshift hospital rooms in disaster areas like Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Montreal turns hockey arena into field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients – Apr 26, 2020

“I never thought we would use it here,” said Canadian Red Cross Quebec vice president Pascal Mathieu. “This is equipment we send to the worst hit areas in the world.”

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Lasalle’s seniors residences are being hit hard by COVID-19. Centre d’hebergement Lasalle has 110 cases and Floralies Lasalle has 95, and those are two of many.

Lasalle Hospital’s COVID-19 unit is nearing capacity. It only has room for eight or nine new patients, according to West Island CIUSSS president Lynne Mcvey.

Mcvey said that as soon as the hospital reaches capacity it will be transferring patients from our long-term care facilities to the field hospital.

Quebec government calls on all people to help out in long-term care homes

Quebec’s premier says the province has the novel coronavirus pandemic under control but that long-term care homes remain at the heart of the health crisis, as the majority of Quebec’s COVID-19 deaths have originated in nursing homes.

The government’s focus remains on protecting seniors and bolstering staffing in long-term care centres, where the situation is critical, according to Legault.

After pleading for help from military and health-care professionals to assist in residences, the province urged all people who are able to work full-time to sign up online. They are eligible for $21.28 per hour.

“I hope it will draw a lot more people, thousands of people,” said Health Minister Danielle McCann. “At the beginning, we needed expertise. Now, we need people.”

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–With files from The Canadian Press, Global News’ Kalina Laframboise and Dan Spector

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