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Regional Update: A third casualty and nine new cases


CARLETON: – The Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands Public Health Board is reporting the death of a third Manoir du Havre resident as a result of COVID-19. “This shows how this illness affects people whom we love but who are old,” says Dr. Iv Bonnier-Viger, director of Public Health for the region.

By saying that, he is also referring to the fact that 89% of the 150 Quebecers who died so far from COVID-19 are aged 70 years and older.

The number of individuals in the Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands with COVID-19 went from 66 to 75 (including the three casualties) between April 7 and 8.

Meanwhile, after two weeks of stern refusal following numerous requests, including a petition of 4,000-plus names coming from the Magdalen Islands, Dr. Bonnier-Viger has reluctantly accepted to release partial numbers about the cases per MRC.  There are six MRCs on his territory of intervention.

Dr. Bonnier-Viger had previously refused to release those numbers because of his professional obligation to keep the identity of patients confidential. That is difficult to achieve considering the small size of the communities, the ease in identifying infected people in that context, and the mean comments expressed on social media. “That wickedness does not favour good health and can threaten the recovery,” says Dr. Bonnier-Viger.

From the count he has excluded the 43 cases in connection with the Manoir du Havre outbreak in Maria.

Out of the 32 remaining cases:

Avignon MRC: 8

Magdalen Islands: 7

Rocher-Percé MRC: 7

He is not releasing a breakdown for the Haute-Gaspésie, Côte-de-Gaspé and Bonaventure MRCs because the count is less than five.

Dr. Bonnier-Viger says the next update will only be issued when each of those three MRCs possess five or more cases.

As for the E. Gagnon et Fils processing plant case, he says that most of the cases made public “are not linked to infection passed on within the plant.” In other words, the three workers and the fisherman’s helper who tested positive were infected outside the plant. The plant will likely stay closed until April 17 or close to that date, “a reasonable delay to avoid additional contagion,” says Dr. Bonnier-Viger.