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Montrealers must follow COVID-19 health measures after city put on alert, mayor says

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante slips on her protective mask during a news conference in Montreal, on Thursday, May 14, 2020.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante slips on her protective mask during a news conference in Montreal, on Thursday, May 14, 2020. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is calling for vigilance and for citizens to follow public health measures amid an upward trend of novel coronavirus cases in the city.

“It’s worrisome because yesterday alone we had 96 new cases,” she said during an executive committee meeting Wednesday.

“It’s a situation that we have to take very seriously.”

Quebec has raised the COVID-19 alert level for Montreal, along with several other regions, to yellow. That level calls for “an early warning.” The government warns if the level is raised to orange, tighter restrictions will be implemented.

READ MORE: Quebec sees surge in coronavirus cases as province reports 303 new infections

The move comes as the number of new cases continues to surge in the province, including Montreal. Public health confirmed there are at least seven outbreaks in schools in the area.

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Quebec officials have pointed to private events as a driver of community transmission of COVID-19 in recent weeks.

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Montreal public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin said Tuesday that those events, such as dinners and weddings, remain a major problem.

As a result, Plante said it’s important for Montrealers to abide by public health directives such as physical distancing, even in private settings. They must return to the “good habits” they developed early on in the pandemic to limit the spread of COVID-19, she added.

“We can’t let our guards down,” she said.

READ MORE: Downtown Montreal on life support with workers reluctant to return

The mayor also said the pandemic is real, with the first wave of the coronavirus hitting the city hard and killing thousands.

“It’s 3,500 people who had names, who had families,” she said.

The health crisis has been difficult for health-care workers and businesses, she said, and a potential resurgence of infections and lockdown restrictions would be hard on merchants and small companies.

“The first wave was very difficult but the second wave could be fatal,” she said, referring to the economy.

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Over the summer, the city rolled out measures to help business owners stay afloat, but Plante has repeatedly called on the Quebec and federal government to aid the city out of the crisis.

Coronavirus alert level increases to yellow in Montreal
Coronavirus alert level increases to yellow in Montreal

With files from the Canadian Press