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Regional update: Healthcare workers desperately needed


CARLETON: – The Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands Public Health Board is reporting two new cases of COVID-19, for a regional total of 99.

The call to recruit more healthcare workers made by Chantal Duguay, the director general of the Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CISSS), was the focus of the day. In the region 350 to 400 people are needed. This represents about 12% of the total regional staff.

Four days after expressing an urgent need for personnel, Ms. Duguay reiterated her “heartfelt call,” to recruit people that can come and help an overwhelmed staff, particularly in the Bay of Chaleur area, where the Saint Joseph Residence, a publicly run seniors’ home needs personnel.

Chantal Duguay’s initial call on Good Friday was heard, “because 100 students communicated their availability, but it is not enough,” she says. She stresses that the “region’s health network was already experiencing a staffing shortage before the pandemic. (…) So, add COVID and the proportion of employees on leave…,” she says without finishing the sentence. Her message is directed at those who have worked in the health sector but also to people who can help “according to their capacity.”

Chantal Duguay points out that the Manoir du Havre was part of the 41 “more critical residences,” identified earlier today by Quebec Premier François Legault as places presenting potential or real problems. Of the region’s 99 COVID-19 cases, 63 are connected to the Manoir du Havre outbreak. The four casualties in the region are also attributable to that same outbreak.

“We intervened and now, it is a residence under control,” says Ms. Duguay. She adds that upon the occurrence of that outbreak, at the end of March, staff from the CISSS took over much of the care and management aspects of Manoir du Havre.

Meanwhile, Dr. Yv Bonnier-Viger, director of the Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands Public Health Board, says that “there is a possibility that one or two cases,” recently included in the regional total could be the region’s first community transmission cases.

“The origin has not yet been found,” he says, specifying that this or these cases are tied to the Saint Joseph Residence and that the investigation is ongoing. That low number would correspond to the definition of a “sporadic community transmission,” if it is proven, he says.

There are six cases in the region that are connected to Saint Joseph Residence. So far there are no hospitalizations as a result of that outbreak.

Eleven people in the region have been hospitalized, and three people are still being cared for at a Quebec City hospital. There are no new casualties or hospitalizations.