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Quebec public health officials maintain message to keep up coronavirus health measures

Quebec public health wants people to continue practicing COVID-19 protocols
WATCH: Dr. Horacio Arruda is trying to hammer home the message that even though the numbers look good, people still need to wear masks and practice safe social distancing. Global's Gloria Henriquez has more.

People in Montreal are out in droves enjoying the good weather, but Quebec public health officials say they are seeing less and less people respecting the advice necessary to fight COVID-19.

On Friday, Quebec’s Public Health Director Horacio Arruda was trying to hammer down the message that the public must continue to keep distance and wear masks, even though things look normal.

“Yes, we have gradually de-confined, however, the virus is still present,” Arruda said.

“It is truly major. The biggest action you can take to help us is to maintain the two metres, practice hygiene please and wear your face cover.”

Read more: Quebec reports 19 new coronavirus deaths, 89 new cases on Friday

The director of public health for the Montérégie region, Dr. Julie Loslier said they have noticed that the number of contacts a person who is infected with the virus had was becoming larger.

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“We’re seeing people are respecting the distancing measures less, we’re also seeing that the average age of people (getting infected) is getting lower.”

Loslier added that there have been cases of younger people spreading the virus to “a great number of contacts” because they were in social settings where there was no physical distancing.

Read more: COMMENTARY: Ignoring social distancing? Get ready for a second coronavirus wave, CMA head warns

“The rise is not abnormal, it’s related to the fact that the virus is still circulating and as the youth have not been too exposed to the virus, there are some cases,” Arruda explained.

Arruda says the potential second wave will be as big or as small as our efforts in maintaining our physical distance and wearing a mask when we can’t keep that distance.

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Some, however, say there needs to be a balance.

“When we go to supermarkets, we wear a mask, we follow the guidelines,” said Theo Gaoois, who was having a beer out on a terrasse on Mont-Royal Avenue.

“But I think we need to be able to socialize, be outside, kind of feel like it’s normal.”

The co-owner of the Taverne Saint-Sacrement on Mont-Royal Avenue, Carlos Machado, said that balance was not always easy to achieve.

Some people, he says, act as if the pandemic is over.

“We’re trying to remind them as much as we can because we don’t want to close down again,” said Machado.

Officials also noted a rise in sexually transmitted diseases in the Monteregie area after confinement ended.

Health Matters: Study confirms masks, social distancing measures do help curb the spread of COVID-19
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“We have seen a spike in people reporting sexually transmitted diseases,” said Loslier.

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“What we need to know is if people were testing themselves less during the pandemic.”

Loslier added it’s possible that people were getting closer after de-confinement and not respecting social distancing rules.

Officials are urging everyone to stay protected.