Five people have now died in Quebec due to the novel coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, while the number of confirmed cases in the province has climbed to 181.
The Quebec government announced the additional four deaths and 42 new confirmed cases on Saturday. Officials said four of the five deaths were of individuals who lived at the same seniors’ residence.
Ten people in Quebec are currently in intensive care and another 10 people are being treated for the virus at the hospital.
Health officials said that as of Saturday, 1,512 Quebecers are under investigation and 9,242 tests results have come back negative. One person has fully recovered.
The Quebec government reiterated that its health-care system is ready to handle an influx of patients, as it has 4,600 hospital beds available to treat COVID-19 patients across the province.
Schools could remain closed until May
On Friday, Quebec Premier François Legault said, though previous announcements indicated schools would open March 30, elementary schools and high schools might face a different fate. Officials said those schools could remain closed until May.
Quebec biopharmaceutical company gets $7 million for vaccine testing
The provincial government announced on Saturday that it will be providing a $7 million grant to Quebec biopharmaceutical company Medicago to accelerate the development of a vaccine against COVID-19.
Medicago announced that it had successfully produced a vaccine candidate against COVID-19 on March 12.
The company said the government grant will allow it to conduct preclinical studies. The clinical studies, which include testing on patients, are set to begin this summer.
Quebec government says fines, arrests face people who don’t respect self-isolation
On Friday, police arrested a woman in Quebec City who was infected with the virus and walking around outside after being mandated to stay indoors. The arrest was the first time public health issued an order to Quebec City police under emergency powers granted after Legault declared a public health emergency on March 14.
Arruda said that regional public health directors across the province “will have no problem” ordering police to make arrests and ensure people carrying the virus are isolated.
“Starting now, it’s clear that we will restrict people who aren’t respecting the orders,” Arruda said. “Especially if they have already been advised, contacted, and we have information that they are walking around.
“It’s a question of respect. The rights of individuals stop when the impact on the community is very high.”
Quebec medical authorities say they give clear directives to people who test positive for COVID-19. If medical officers get the sense that an infected person might not obey isolation orders, the patient is monitored more closely.
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) police announced its new mitigation measures on Friday in response to the spread of the virus.
“Some Sûreté du Québec personnel have been reassigned to key locations in municipalities with regard to the needs determined by Public Health,” the SQ stated in a press release.
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