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.