Quebec’s top doctor is advising the public to adhere to physical-distancing guidelines in order to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Dr. Horacio Arruda, director of the province’s public health, said on Monday that caution is key in Quebec as restrictions are eased.
“We are deconfined, the situation is improving,” he said. “But I’m telling you that our biggest danger is that we quickly forget what is happening and we forget prevention measures.”
This includes maintaining a two-metre distance from others, frequent handwashing and wearing a mask in situations where physical distancing is not possible. Following directives is crucial to limiting the spread and an uptick in cases, according to Arruda.
Arruda also suggested that making masks mandatory on public transit is a measure that is being considered.
However, Arruda said the indicators — such as the declining number of new cases and deaths linked to COVID-19 — are positive.
“We are at a turning point in our battle against the coronavirus,” he said, adding he doesn’t think Quebec will have to go back to strict measures.
On Monday, Quebec resumed publishing its daily new cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19.
There are 55,390 cases in total, up 72 from Sunday. The pandemic has killed 5,485 people in the province, including seven new deaths reported on Monday.
There are 455 patients in hospital and 45 of them are in intensive care. Quebec’s number of hospitalizations has been declining over the past month.
The new numbers come after Arruda announced last Friday that daily updates would be reinstated on Monday.
Quebec had announced last Wednesday that the province would no longer publish new COVID-19 information on a daily basis and move to weekly updates. The decision was criticized and caught many by surprise.
During the three days for which there was no daily update — Friday through Sunday — the province reported 30 deaths attributed to COVID-19, an average of 10 per day.
The province also reported 239 new cases of the virus during the same three-day period, for an average of nearly 80 cases per day.
— With files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier and the Canadian PressView link »