Public health director questions reopening of businesses, schools
As Montreal’s public health department investigates alarming spikes in COVID-19 cases in certain parts of Montreal island, its director is questioning whether this region meets conditions required for the safe reopening of some businesses and schools.
At his daily COVID-19 news conference Tuesday, Premier François Legault said the spread of the novel coronavirus is sufficiently under control in Quebec — with the notable exception of seniors’ homes — to begin the gradual relaunch of the economy in just two weeks. Some Montreal businesses will be allowed to reopen on May 11, while schools and daycares are set to reopen here on May 19.
But at a news conference later Tuesday afternoon, Montreal public health director Mylène Drouin indicated it is far from clear that the Montreal region will meet the conditions necessary to begin a safe and successful “de-confinement” in just a few weeks.
“The experts’ advice is clear about the conditions necessary for a successful de-confinement,” Drouin said. “The question we are asking ourselves today is: can Montreal fill these conditions and what can we do quickly, in the next three weeks, to ensure these conditions are in place?”
The conditions, she said, are that the spread of the virus must be under control, that the health care system and public health system must be ready to deal with new outbreaks that are inevitable as society reopens, and the public must be on board and following public health orders.
Drouin confirmed the death toll in the Montreal region has surpassed the 1,000 mark. As of 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, 1,039 Montrealers have died of the disease, counting 56 new deaths since Monday. The Montreal region is home to 12,487 people who have tested positive for the virus, an increase of 453 cases in the past 24 hours.