Dr. Iv Bonnier-Viger, director general of the Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands Public Health Board, explains that the nine cases of Covid-19 infection identified in the region were all “imported,” in the sense that all affected people had travelled, seven outside the country and two elsewhere in Canada. So far, there are no cases of community transmission on the Gaspé.
According to the Public Health Board there weren’t any new cases of Covid-19 between March 28 and March 29. None of the nine cases reported so far, have needed to be hospitalized and none of those nine people are health sector workers or residents of a home for the elderly.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bonnier-Viger points out that he will no longer provide data associating cases either to the Gaspé Peninsula or the Magdalen Islands, so to reduce potential stigma that can arise, considering the size of the region’s communities. He also does not want to create a false impression of security in the places where there haven’t been any cases reported.
The release of the first three cases in the Magdalen Islands a few days ago created a “delicate situation,” says the doctor, especially because of reactions on social media. “Releasing that kind of information is not useful,” he says.
The first case reported in the region, that of a New Carlisle resident who identified herself on social media, is considered a “recovered” case. However, “recovered” cases still appear in the regional count.
The “Quebec and New Brunswick governments still have to fine-tune the rules of circulation between the two provinces,” adds Dr. Bonnier-Viger, who is advising that the “essential service rules,” apply at the Pointe-à-la-Croix and Matapedia check points.
Regionally, two check points; one in Sainte-Florence, Matapedia Valley, and another in Les Méchins, on the north side of the coast were installed at 4 p.m. on March 28 to “close” the Gaspé Peninsula to outside visitors and to restrict residents who had been away. The essential service rules apply at those check points as well.
The Gaspé Peninsula and the Magdalen Islands represent one of the eight Quebec regions that were closed on March 28. That controlled closure means that residents of the other 10 Quebec regions will now have to be quarantined if they are allowed in a closed region.
Those eight regions had reported 74 of Quebec’s 2,424 cases, as of March 28 and there has not been any community transmission in those regions. The Quebec total rose to 2,840 cases on March 29. The total for the eight closed regions has not yet been updated.
MARCH 23: Quebec Premier François Legault announced today that, effective at midnight, March 24, all the stores, businesses, factories and shops not appearing on a list of “essential services” will have to shut down their operations for three weeks, until April 13.
The preliminary list of essential services is now available in French on the Government of Quebec website. It is not clear if commercial fisheries are included in the essential services or not. So far, food production has been maintained in Quebec as an essential service. Pascale Fortin, director of communications at the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans points out that the ministry is currently studying the situation. The snow crab fishing season is supposed to start on March 25 in zone 17, which covers the area between Trois-Pistoles and Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.
List of essential services according to Government of Quebec website
Essential health care services, including:
- All occupations in the health and social services network
- Pre-hospital emergency services (paramedics and dispatchers)
- Private professional resource offices (health network)
- Dentists (emergency consultations)
- Optometry (emergency services)
- Intermediate resources and private seniors’ residences
- Home services for seniors, the disabled and the vulnerable
- Specialized accommodation resources (domestic violence, homelessness, drug addiction, etc.)
- 811 and 911 call centre workers
- Héma Québec
- Red Cross
- National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ)
- Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)
- Production, supply and distribution of drugs, vaccines and pharmaceutical goods and medical equipment (including laboratory and research centre)
- Animal shelters
Public security services, including:
- Police services, including dispatch of emergency calls (municipal and Sûreté du Québec)
- Fire services
- Correctional services
- Special constables
- Security agencies
- Ministry of Public Security (civil security and coroners)
- Forest firefighters and all types of professionals supporting civil security operations
- Courthouse (Staff required to maintain minimum operations)
- Communication services
The following essential government services:
- Educators and support staff for emergency child care
- Online higher education
- Providers of goods and services for poor citizens
- Food inspection
- Waste collection
- Government Air Services
- Suicide prevention centre
- Communication centre with clients of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity
- Assistance services for victims of domestic violence
- Income security and social security
- Resources deemed essential by the municipalities (administration, public works, etc.).
Maintenance and operations of strategic infrastructure, including:
- Energy production, supply, transport and distribution (electricity, fossil fuels)
- Keeping essential public infrastructure in good working order (bridges, municipal buildings, etc.)
- Construction and maintenance of essential activities linked in particular to public and private infrastructure which may involve a risk to public health and safety (private dam, management of dangerous and radioactive materials, etc.)
- Sanitary services and supply chain (example: water treatment plant)
- IT resources (security, maintenance, urgent needs related to the situation)
- Data centres
Essential manufacturing activities, including:
- Food production (examples: agricultural businesses, food processing, beverage, slaughterhouses, vegetable production)
- Production of necessary inputs for essential sectors
- Manufacture of medical instruments
- Chemical manufacturing
- Manufacture of sanitary products
- Manufacturing of microelectronics components
- Industrial complexes (especially the aluminum sector) and mining must minimize their activities
- Defence manufacturing and maintenance
Essential businesses, including:
- Grocery stores and other food businesses
- Convenience stores
- Large surface outside of shopping centres (offering grocery, pharmacy or hardware services)
- Products for agricultural holdings (mechanics, fertilizers, etc.)
- Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) and Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC)
- Funeral homes, cremation and cemeteries
- Restaurants (take out or delivery counters only)
- Cleaners and laundromat
- Medical and orthopedic businesses
- Pet food stores and supplies
- Work equipment (safety and protection)
The following media and telecommunications services:
- Telecommunications (network and equipment)
- Cable distributors
- Printers (only for printing newspapers)
- National media
- Local media
Banking and financial services, including:
- Financial services (Financial institutions, ATMs and other payment methods)
- Insurance services (telephone service)
- Payroll services
- Accounting services
- Financial market services
In the construction sector:
- Construction firms for emergency repairs or for security purposes
- Electricians and plumbers and other trades for emergency services
- Rental equipment
Building maintenance and upkeep services, including:
- Janitorial services
- Firms related to building maintenance (elevators, ventilation, alarm, etc.)
The following essential transport and logistics services:
- Public transport and transport of people
- Ports and airports
- Maintenance services of locomotives, aircraft and essential aeronautical operations (air transport)
- Supply and distribution of food, groceries and convenience stores
- Transport, storage and distribution of essential goods
- Snow removal and maintenance of functional road links
- Service stations and mechanical repair of motor vehicles, trucks and specialized equipment for industries considered essential
- Taxis and adapted transit services
- Postal, courier and parcel delivery services
If your business activity is not listed above, but you think it is essential or that it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you can apply for designation as essential business. A telephone line will be set up shortly.
The businesses and services targeted on this list, must ensure that the people present in their establishments respect, as far as possible, the principles of social distancing.