Legault describes the situation as “critical” as Quebec raises the alert level in 4 regions

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As cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, Quebec Premier François Legault has issued a sobering warning to the public, saying social gatherings should be limited “as much as possible” to avoid having to close schools and businesses.” The situation is critical. It is worrying and we must act now, ”he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“There is a real risk of a second wave. ”

The grim message came as Quebec recorded more than 200 cases for six consecutive days, including 291 on Tuesday.

The province has a seven-day moving average of 28 cases per million population, far exceeding the 20 public health cases per million set as a threshold last month.

Legault announced that four regions classified as green in Quebec’s color-coded alert system – Montreal, Montérégie, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Chaudière-Appalaches – have been moved to the yellow level as part of the system. regional alert of the province.

WATCH | Legault calls on the public to limit gatherings:

Quebec has unveiled a new color-coded COVID-19 alert system. Here is how it works. 2:11

Quebec, the Cantons-de-l’Est, the Outaouais region and Laval are already designated yellow. Below this alert level, activities are still allowed according to health rules, with additional enforcement and potential fines to ensure they are followed.

Several regions, including Quebec and the Bas-Saint-Laurent regions, are under close surveillance and could go to orange level – or “moderate alert” – next week, sources told Radio-Canada.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said this would mean further restrictions, including the possible closure of bars and reducing the number of people allowed at private gatherings from 10 to six.

For now, however, Dubé has limited the new restrictions to closing kitchen service in bars after midnight.

People will also now be required to wear masks in private seniors’ residences, known as RPAs.

“RPA for me is our next problem if we’re not careful,” Dubé said.

The alert level of a region is based on three criteria: the epidemiological situation, the transmission rate and the capacity of the region’s health system.

Fragile system

Dubé was visibly frustrated as he recounted some of the epidemics that contributed to the resurgence of the virus.

Among the sources: a hairdresser from Chaudière-Appalaches who was contagious but continued to work, serving 15 clients in six different locations, including a private seniors’ residence and a long-term care home.

(Dubé originally said she was aware she was contagious, but later returned to the remark.)

In Montérégie, he said, a gathering of 17 people in a restaurant resulted in 31 confirmed cases. Hundreds more will have to be watched.

“We will have to screen 330 customers who have signed up for this restaurant’s newspaper,” he said. “Imagine the workload of people in public health to contact all of these people. ”

Dubé also reported that a corn roast in Bas-Saint-Laurent resulted in 30 cases.

“Our health system is already fragile,” he said. “And whenever we have a new case, or we have to work with public health, or that person may one day go to a clinic or to the hospital, it is the health personnel that we use. we could have avoided. . ”

Most of the recent outbreaks are outside Montreal, in areas that escaped the worst case wave of the spring.

Quebec City recorded 60 cases on Monday, more than any other day since the start of the pandemic.

The 29 cases reported in Bas-Saint-Laurent on September 12 were far more than what had been recorded on any other day of the pandemic.

In that region, new cases reported in each of the past five days were all higher than any day in the spring wave – the previous high, twice in early April, was five new cases.

Despite the increase in cases, the number of hospitalizations and deaths remains low compared to figures reported in the spring, when more than 100 people were declared dead daily as the virus ravaged long-term care homes across the province .

But Dr Horacio Arruda, director of public health for Quebec, has warned that these numbers could climb in the weeks and months to come.

He said historically the second wave of a pandemic tended to be much worse than the first.

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