In a press conference this morning, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and Public Health Director Mylène Drouin elaborated on the city’s COVID-19 red zone designation, announced by the provincial government last night.
Plante confirmed that there have been no reported outbreaks at the Montreal bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums and libraries, which will all have to close from Oct. 1 to 28 as per new Quebec public health rules. The small outbreaks that have occurred in the city are happening at workplaces, schools and health care settings, with more complicated and hard-to-control community transmission occurring at parties, homes and other private indoor gatherings as well as team sports activities.
The city is urging the public to respect public health guidelines and avoid all gatherings, even outdoor gatherings with distancing. They’re launching a Do Not Ignore This Call campaign to get Montrealers to pick up when a call comes in about contact tracing. They are also urging anyone who has been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 to get tested, isolate and list recent contacts.
“Community transmission is associated with a greater number of outbreaks, but we are seeing smaller outbreaks, 10 to 15 cases, and in those cases we are able to control transmission,” Drouin said. “We have 38 in the workplace, about 4 in schools and in daycare centres, 9 in hospitals, 7 in senior homes and 5 in community environments which have to do with sports teams and parties.”
“Cooperation from everyone is required to really help to flatten the curve. We want to slow the transmission,” Plante said. “What is happening in social environments obviously shows that we are not currently controlling the situation and we don’t want to arrive in a situation where there are significant impacts on the health care system and the most vulnerable people — we must take action now and significantly. There are 240 cases each day in Montreal.
“We want to protect our essentials services, healthcare and eductation and keep people at work as much as possible. We want to keep people at work because that’s important. but what we’re seeing is that a lot of these outbreaks are occurring in the restroom, the kitchen, in other activities at the workplace after work. We are asking workers to be much more vigilant, to wear PPE, to wear your surgical masks, the blue mask, and to continue to practise distancing, and to not give up on this because that’s where we are seeing transmission now.”
Plante also expressed concern for the sectors that are being forced to close again, and encouraged Montrealers to support restaurants as much as possible in October. She also praised bars and restaurants and cultural venues for their efforts to keep their clientele safe over the summer.
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