Quebec health minister gives COVID-19 update, assures public the province is ready

Quebec’s Health Minister Danielle McCann assured the public on Wednesday that the province is ready to deal with the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, but said that the public health risk remains low.

The province still has its one single confirmed patient, a woman who returned to Montreal from Iran via Daha, Qatar.

The patient’s tests came back positive for the virus last week and she remains in isolation and is being followed by doctors at the Jewish General Hospital.

McCann said many people have been investigated for the virus in Quebec, including 203 negative cases and 33 cases that are currently under investigation. She said that all 33 people who are under investigation are taking the proper precautions and staying isolated.

The minister said the province is well prepared to handle the virus, with designated COVID-19 clinics and hospitals ready to deal with an influx of infected patients.

“We are following the situation closely and all precautions are being taken,” McCann said.

She stressed that people who believe they show symptoms of the virus should call Info-Santé at 811 which will tell them what to do.

Employers should also be accommodating to people by letting them stay home should they have symptoms, McCann said.

As for public transit in Montreal, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) announced on Wednesday that all surfaces on metro carts and buses will be disinfected once a week going forward.

McCann reiterated the importance of rigorous hand washing, coughing into your sleeve and isolating yourself if you show any symptoms.

She said the health ministry will be communicating with the public regularly in the coming weeks with updates on the status of the virus in the province.

The province has many protocols in place and so far the public is respecting all guidelines, according to the minister. She added that a tighter control of face mask distribution will be taken, as masks should be reserved for specific groups only.

The public can stay informed here.

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