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Regional update: Director of Public Health Board expects COVID-19 cases to double


CARLETON:  – The director of the Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands Public Health Board, Dr. Yv Bonnier-Viger, expects the number of daily COVID-19 cases to double when elementary schools and certain economic sectors resume activities, at the beginning of May.

Dr. Yv Bonnier-Viger thinks that the number of new COVID-19 cases will go from an average of seven cases daily to almost 20, since people will be moving around and interacting with each other more.

He says he will not hesitate to advocate for a reduction in activities if the increase in cases surpasses a certain level. “We will not want to go higher than 17 to 20 cases per day.”

He adds that the daily number is dictated by the capacity of the region’s five hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients. Since the start of the pandemic, once a hospitalized patient receives a positive test for COVID-19, that patient is then transferred to the region’s designated hospital. For the Gaspé Peninsula, at first that hospital was in Quebec City and now it is in Rimouski.

“We might have to provide that care,” points out Chantal Duguay, director of the Gaspé Peninsula Integrated Health and Social Services Centre. The decision will depend on the capacity of the hospitals located outside the region to accept Gaspesians.  Currently, between 65 and 70 hospital beds can be used to treat regional COVID-19 patients, if needed.

There are no new cases of COVID-19 today, the overall total for the region is at 165. There are no additional hospitalizations and 11 additional individuals have recovered, for a total of 70.

Meanwhile, a controversy broke early in the morning of April 28 when a group called Campbellton Community Concerns, based in New Brunswick, posted remarks to the effect that they could prevent Listuguj Mi’gmaq citizens from going to Campbellton for essential services. Several members of that group were considering installing a blockade.

Compared to Quebec, New Brunswick is ahead in re-opening the province. In New Brunswick the number of cases has been decreasing for two weeks, and they haven’t had any new cases for ten days.

George Martin, a Listuguj councillor reacted to those online remarks and attempted to calm the situation. He summarized his moves in a facebook post that received a lot of support from Natives and non-Natives. “Good morning everyone… Mi’gmaq, Acadien, Quebecois and Canadian. This morning I was awakened by numerous text messages concerning a post on facebook. I read it and some comments. I continued to respond to more comments and reassured them (that) I’ll look into it. At around 8 a.m. I made my way to the bridge to meet the officer in charge; he was already aware of the facebook post. We spoke for 10-15 minutes (he is Acadian) I believe. We both agreed this situation should not be about race; it’s about meeting a basic need,” wrote Mr. Martin. “We can’t focus on the numbers. Listuguj has ZERO cases and we pride ourselves of this fact. That bridge was made in 1961 and since then, our relationship has grown; most of us weren’t even born then. It’s not the time to destroy the relationship our parents and grandparents have created. I am asking all of us to take a deep breath before posting any comment about the bridge. The new normal is waiting for us, let’s work together to insure the new normal is NOT filled with hatred!” he added.

The breakdown of the 165 cases by health region (containing a hospital) is as follows: (updated April 27 at 6 p.m.)

  • Bay of Chaleur sector – 124
  • Rocher-Percé sector – 25
  • Magdalen Islands – 9
  • Côte-de-Gaspé – less than 5
  • Haute-Gaspésie – less than 5

Note: The Public Health Board does not release numbers in a sector if the number of cases is less than five.  The total of confirmed cases in a health region does not always correspond to the sum of cases in that health region (RLS) due to unknown values, data entry errors or transfers between regions. The total in one health region won’t necessarily correspond with the total for the outbreaks in that health region, since some cases are located (reside) in other health regions.

The totals for the province are as follows: (updated April 27 at 6 p.m.)

  • 1682 deaths (an increase of 83 )
  • 25,757 positive cases (an increase of 775 )
  • 1625 people hospitalized (an increase of 84 )
  • 217 people in intensive care (an increase of 7 )