The Quebec government revealed that the province’s COVID-19-related death toll has reached 1,340, after announcing 97 new deaths since Thursday.
As part of his daily briefings, Premier François Legault updated the provincial numbers, stating that Quebec now has 22,616 known cases and 1,460 hospitalized patients, 227 of whom are in intensive care.
A total of 163,016 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’s high number of hospitalized patients is a result of not transferring them back to long-term care homes. “There are people that are technically cured but not sent back to CHSLDs, which inflates the numbers.”
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The premier said Quebec is seeing “two different worlds,” one is the “difficult” situation in long-term care homes and the other is the rest of society which he says is “stable.”
“A lot of places in the world have a great percentage of death taking place in residences for the elderly,” he continued in French. “It does not excuse the situation but I think it’s everywhere in the world, not just in Quebec. It’s like setting fire to dry hay. Everything goes up in flames very quickly and too easily gets out of control.”
Legault reiterated meetings of the past week, saying that the situation in CHSLDs remains the province’s top short-term priority, citing an ongoing problem with a short supply staff.
He says officials are now reviewing applicants who are not registered in a medical field.
“I’m asking people who have not registered to come help us out, even if you aren’t qualified in the health field. If you’re available full-time, we need you.”
Legault said the work will not be volunteers and workers will make wages the government calls “service help,” which amounts to $21.28 per hour. “We are ready to offer wages to any person who wants to work, we need you.”
#COVID19 – Au Québec, en date du 24 avril 2020 à 13 h, la situation est la suivante :
22 616 cas confirmés
163 016 analyses négatives (cas infirmés)
1 460 personnes hospitalisées
1 340 décès
Pour en savoir plus sur la situation au Québec : https://t.co/fiqW5E4y8R
— Santé Québec (@sante_qc) April 24, 2020
“If we put aside CHSLDs, the situation is under control,” continued Legault, stating “we will reopen” society, gradually.
He stressed that the economy and schools won’t reopen next week, but a plan will be tabled.
The guidelines must remain in place, said Legault, including staying two-metres away from people and he says officials will “strongly recommend” the use of masks when schools and businesses reopen for citizens who are unable to keep the physical distancing guidelines.
“Life is going to be different We will be staying two-metres away from people for months,” he said. “It’s important to remain united and there is still a lot of work to get done. It’s not time to get discouraged, it’s time to slowly and gradually start taking up our normal lives. Finding hope, finding pride, I am convinced we will get through this.”
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 2,197.