In Montreal, public health authorities have confirmed that at least 30 cases of the novel coronavirus have been detected among people who frequented nine bars since July 1.
Dr. David Kaiser said on Tuesday that at least 3,000 people have been tested following public health’s call issued on the weekend for bar patrons and employees to be screened following an outbreak.
“We have seen a really impressive response to our recommendation,” he said.
Montrealers have continued to join hours-long lineups in order to be tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Kaiser said the entire health network on the island is working hard to keep up with the demand, which is about 50 per cent higher than the previous weekend.
“I would say be patient, your desire to get tested is important to us and it will help us do our work,” said Kaiser.
The data from this weekend shows that the rate of positive cases is higher in testing in Montreal with about three positive cases per 100 tests, according to public health. Kaiser said it was previously about 1 in 100 tests that came back positive.
Montreal is also seeing a higher rate of community transmission. Kaiser said that isn’t solely due to bars and restaurants reopening, saying the presence of private events in the city such as backyard or indoor parties had also contributed.
Teams visiting bars in the city to see if they are, in fact, following public health directives say most businesses have been respecting the rules, added Kaiser.
“Private events influence the transmission in public places such as bars,” he said.
Public health’s findings come as some bars where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among staff — such as McKibbin’s in Montreal’s West Island — are urging patrons to get tested.
Last week, the province tightened rules around bars in order to limit the spread of the virus, including cutting hours and ordering establishments to operate at half capacity.
Quebec Premier François Legault said on Tuesday that the province won’t hesitate to shut down bars if necessary, such as a spike in cases.
“For now, the situation remains in control.”
Quebec reported 109 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the province’s total to 56,730 since the pandemic first began.
Authorities recorded five more deaths from the previous day. The health crisis has killed 5,633 people to date.
The number of hospitalizations across the province dropped by 10 to 295. Of those patients, 21 are in intensive care.
The last available data for testing shows that 9,072 tests were administered on July 12, which is below Quebec’s goal of 14,000 daily tests.
Quebec has the highest number of infections and deaths attributable to COVID-19. The province accounts for more than half of Canada’s cases.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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