Quebec is gearing up for a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus with a series of measures, including more oversight for the province’s embattled long-term care homes.
The province — which has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic — is specifically preparing its health network for a possible resurgence in cases with a nine-point action plan.
“Can we do better? The answer is yes,” said Health Minister Christian Dubé, adding that the government has learned from the first wave.
Dubé, Seniors Minister Marguerite Blais and Lionel Carmant, junior health minister, outlined the details Tuesday morning in Quebec City. They were joined by Dr. Horacio Arruda, director of Quebec public health.
The action plan focuses on more supervision in long-term care homes by appointing a manager to each one and hiring more staff to work in those facilities. Quebec will also limit transferring orderlies from one centre to another to prevent the transmission of the virus.
The health crisis has shed light on the challenges facing nursing homes in Quebec, where the majority of COVID-19 deaths have occurred, and has sparked investigations into their management. The province is already training 10,000 new orderlies to work in understaffed facilities.
As part of the preparations, the government is also looking at reducing delays for screening and ensuring there is enough personal protective equipment for the health network.
The measures will be in place by Sept. 30, giving the province about six weeks to ready the health network for a spike in infections, according to Dubé. The government is providing $106 million for public health, which will allow regional health authorities to hire up to 1,000 workers to help with contact tracing and infection control.
“Together we went through the first wave and it is together we will beat this virus,” Dubé said.
Quebec continues to lead the country when it comes to the death toll and infections related to the ongoing crisis. Since the pandemic began, there have been 61,252 cases and 5,727 deaths in the province.
The number of new daily cases has dropped over the past few days, with a total of 46 new cases reported Tuesday.
Six additional deaths were reported Tuesday, but authorities said only two of them occurred in the past 24 hours.
The number of hospitalizations remained unchanged at 145 while the number of people in intensive care increased by two to 27.
— with files from the Canadian Press
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