COVID-19: Quebec to loosen restrictions on visits to seniors’ residences, says Premier Legault

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MONTREAL –
Saying that everyone on the bridge is necessary now to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in seniors’ residences in Quebec, Premier François Legault announced Tuesday that the province is easing restrictions on visits to these facilities.

As of Thursday, only one pre-existing caregiver – who will be identified by the administrators of each CHSLD, the long-term care residences for the elderly in Quebec – will be authorized to visit and treat a patient residing in one of the residences .

No one other than the identified caregivers, CHSLD employees and health care workers will have access to homes for the aged, many of whom have been victims of COVID-19 epidemics and deaths.

About 10% of residents had caregivers who came to visit them regularly before the March 13 closing.

Horacio Arruda, director of public health for Quebec, said that as part of the measures that will take effect on Thursday, caregivers must be identified by management as having already done the work, they must have a negative test for COVID-19 and follow hygiene measures. They will also sign a consent form to understand what they may be exposed to.

Arruda said the situation in hospitals and intensive care units would have been much worse now if the health authorities had not decided to suspend all visits.

But he noted that what was not known at the start of the epidemic was that asymptomatic people could spread the virus – which likely contributed to the contamination of nursing homes full of vulnerable residents, a phenomenon consistent with other jurisdictions.

Family members will still not be allowed to visit relatives.

“It’s really tragic, it’s a human tragedy, what’s going on right now,” said Health Minister Danielle McCann. “It is very difficult for families, and it is very difficult for staff. We are losing people who are very dear to us, and we will stop at nothing to really, really protect them. “

Legault also called on healthcare workers in other fields – such as medical specialists and health instructors – to offer their services in CHSLDs.

The government has redeployed hospital workers to long-term care, but the facilities are understaffed. The Prime Minister therefore appealed to anyone with appropriate training to help him if he can.

At least 1,250 caregivers and attendants working in homes either have COVID-19 or don’t want to work for fear of infection, officials said.

“I ask everyone available, each health worker to come and help us,” said Legault. “I appeal to your sense of duty to help us protect the most vulnerable. “

There are now 435 people who have died from COVID-19 in Quebec, health officials announced Tuesday, as confirmed cases in the province reached 14,248.

This represents an increase of 75 out of the 360 ​​deaths reported on Monday; COVID-19 cases in Quebec increased by 691 compared to 13,557 announced the previous day.

The 75 deaths represent the largest increase over one day in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Quebec.

The province says nearly half of its deaths from COVID-19 are related to retirement homes.

On Tuesday, 936 people were treated for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals, up from 57 compared to 879 reported on Monday; among hospitalized patients, 230 are in intensive care, only four more than the 226 reported 24 hours earlier.

Tuesday, 2,394 people were waiting for the results of the COVID-19 tests in Quebec, down 251 from the 2,645 reported the day before.

The number of people in Quebec who recovered from COVID-19 as of Tuesday was 2,146, up 164 from the 1,982 recoveries reported on Monday.

Montreal remains the epicenter of COVID-19 in the provinces, with 6,628 cases; you can see a provincial breakdown of COVID-19 cases here.

– The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

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