The Quebec government revealed that the province’s COVID-19-related death toll has reached 1,243 total after announcing 109 new deaths since Tuesday.
As part of his daily briefings, Premier François Legault updated the provincial numbers, stating that Quebec now has 21,838 known cases and 1,411 hospitalized patients, 207 of whom are in intensive care.
A total of 158,995 cases have turned up negative throughout Quebec.
After offering his condolences to family members and loved ones of the new victims, Legault said the province needs medical workers who have completed the two-week self-isolation to return to work.
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“My message is quite clear,” he said, “we need you in the health network. We have all the individual protective equipment to take no chances and no risks for your safety.”
Legault pleaded “we need” once more before saying the network “cannot function” with 9,500 workers who are now absent.
Legault continued to speak of Quebec as being in “two different worlds” right now. While highlighting that “it’s not less important or significant” in either analogy but said the world of long-term care homes (CHSLDs) is very serious and the rest of the province is “pretty under control.”
In regards to reopening schools and businesses throughout the province, the premier said, “nothing will open next week but we will present a calendar and a plan as to when it will.”
He said 97% of deaths in the province are people who are 70-years-old and older and said younger people are at “truly very little risk.”
Legault explained natural immunity and the virus’ exponential growth. He said it’s not realistic to keep Quebecers under lockdown for the next few months or years and says citizens need to slowly develop a natural immunity.
“What we’ve done in the past month, has slowed down the spread’s exponential growth by asking people to stay at home. If everyone stays at home, the situation remains the same. We can’t ask people to stay at home for two years,” he said.
The idea is to go “gradually” so people who aren’t at risk can develop the antibodies needed to become immunized.
#COVID19 – Au Québec, en date du 23 avril 2020 à 13 h, la situation est la suivante :
21 838 cas confirmés
158 995 analyses négatives (cas infirmés)
1 411 personnes hospitalisées
1 243 décès
Pour en savoir plus sur la situation au Québec : https://t.co/fiqW5E4y8R
— Santé Québec (@sante_qc) April 23, 2020
Legault says Quebec’s calendar for reopening businesses and schools, as put forth by the province’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, will be readjusted as “we go along.”
“When looking at the evolution of data, we won’t be opening anything before we have the okay from Dr. Arruda and his team,” Legault said.
For parents who continue to have concerns, Legault said it will not be mandatory to send children back to school before September. He said a top priority was to avoid a second wave and not to lose control in hospitals like the province has in CHSLDs.
“I want to end by telling you we’re experiencing a period that is not easy,” he concluded. “In particular, residences for the elderly. But we can’t let ourselves be beaten down, on the contrary, we have to work together and take care of the most vulnerable — we owe it to them. It’s time to be united to really roll up our sleeves and take up the challenge, together.”
Quebec is one of the global leaders when it comes to screening tests, according to the premier, hence the consistent influx of known cases throughout the province.
Canada’s coronavirus death toll now totals 2,028.