Quebec drops controversial COVID-19 isolation policy in seniors residences

Click to play video: 'Quebec loosens more measures starting with vaccine passports in some locations'
Quebec loosens more measures starting with vaccine passports in some locations
WATCH: Quebec loosens more measures starting with vaccine passports in some locations – Feb 15, 2022

Quebec will no longer require people who live in seniors residences and long-term care homes to isolate for 10 days if another resident or a worker on their floor tests positive for COVID-19.

The preventive isolation policy had been criticized by family members who said their relatives’ health declined during the isolation period.

Dr. Luc Boileau, Quebec’s interim public health director, told reporters Wednesday that residents will only have to isolate if they are in contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19 for more than 10 minutes without a mask. That isolation period will last five days.

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“When I hear that sometimes autonomous people can’t leave their apartment for 10 days, even though they’ve been vaccinated three times and don’t have COVID, that’s not normal,” Seniors Minister Marguerite Blais said.

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The change, which came into effect Wednesday, is one of several announced by Blais as the government looks to reduce restrictions in residential care facilities.

Blais said Quebec will also lift restrictions on the number of visitors residents can have by the end of the month and service providers, such as hair dressers, will once again be allowed in residential care facilities.

 READ MORE: Quebec to end COVID-19 vaccine passport system on March 14

“I’d like us to stop being overcautious. We’re very, very careful that our older people don’t catch Omicron, catch a virus, and sometimes we’re too careful with regard to these people,” Blais said.

Joanne Beland, whose 84-year-old mother had to isolate for 10 days, despite testing negative twice during the isolation period, said the removal of the measure is “excellent news.” Beland said her mother’s health declined during the isolation period and she doesn’t expect her to ever recover from having to stay in her room for 10 days.

Boileau said the loosening of measures is possible because the current wave of the pandemic in the province is subsiding.

Earlier in the day, a Quebec health research institute said that by the end of February, the number of people in Quebec hospitals with COVID-19 should drop to 1,500, a decline of about 500. There should be about half the number of intensive care patients by that time, or about 60.


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