Quebec City will lose health-care services if people don’t respect COVID-19 rules: Guilbault

Click to play video 'Deputy premier has dire warning for Quebec City region, as COVID-19 infections multiply' Deputy premier has dire warning for Quebec City region, as COVID-19 infections multiply
WATCH: Geneviève Guilbault did not mince words on Friday as she warned residents of Quebec City and neighboring Chaudieres-Appalaches that if the transmission of COVID-19 is not stemmed, the health-care system will collapse. Global's Raquel Fletcher explains – Oct 23, 2020

Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches residents must abide by public health directives aimed at stemming the tide of COVID-19 to keep the health-care network intact, officials said Friday.

“If we keep on the same track as we currently are, we are going straight into a wall,” said Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault. “The health-care system will not be able to take care of you anymore in some cases.

“This is a hard fact, but this is the reality.”

Hospital services, including surgeries and cancer treatment, could be postponed if the number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths continue to climb, she stressed.

Guilbault said residents in the two regions, which are designated red zones and under a partial lockdown, have started to let their guard down. She called on them to limit all socializing to cap community transmission.

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In the Quebec City area, the number of outbreaks has doubled to 161 since the beginning of October when tighter restrictions came into effect. The daily tally of new cases ranges from 150 to 200 per day.

Read more: ‘Chances are low’ restaurants in coronavirus red zones will reopen soon, Quebec premier says

Guilbault said the Chaudière-Appalaches region has seen its number of confirmed cases quadruple compared to the first wave. There are five times the amount of deaths, she added.

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“We are at a very critical moment in the fight against the virus,” Guilbault said.

She said she is worried that the public is not taking the government and public health’s messages seriously, and the two regions have reached a “tipping point.”

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume told reporters he understands that the last eight months have been difficult, but he said the community needs to be strong because the situation needs to change.

“I think people are not just tired, they are mad,” he said. “They don’t know when it’s going to be over and they have to understand there is no way out.”

“We have to be more vigilant. We have to think about it 24 hours a day.”

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READ MORE: Quebec sees 905 new coronavirus cases, 12 more deaths as hospitalizations drop

The Quebec government does not want to implement a full lockdown and Guilbault said the province will do everything it can to prevent closing schools.

The red zone rules are adequate — but only if they are being respected, she added.

“Before adding any additional measures, we have to ensure the current measures are followed,” she said.