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Regional update: One new case, IGA quarantine and ESSB numbers


MARIA – The Public Health Board is reporting one new case of COVID-19 in the Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands as of May 8. The regional total is now 172. The new case is still under investigation and hasn’t yet been linked to an existing cluster.

There are no new casualties to report, the total remains at eight.

Four additional individuals have recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 126. There are no new hospitalizations. Only one person is currently hospitalized in Rimouski.

One additional health sector employee has contracted COVID-19 for a total of 41. That case brings the number of Integrated Health and Social Services Centre employees who have contracted COVID-19 to 17.

The Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN union) is criticizing a decision made by Sobeys Quebec regarding the lengthening by 14 days, without pay, the quarantine imposed to eight Paspebiac IGA grocery store employees who were infected by COVID-19 following the April 17 outbreak.

Those eight employees were quarantined the two weeks following April 17. That quarantine was imposed by the Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands Public Health Board, in collaboration with the owners, Nancy Arbour and Gilles Leblanc. The outbreak also affected employees of the New Richmond IGA.

By the beginning of May, the quarantine was finished but instead of resuming work, the eight employees were forced by the management of Sobeys, the firm which owns the IGA banner, to add 14 days to their already completed quarantine. They were also informed that they would not be paid.

SPEC repeatedly asked Sobeys Québec spokesperson, Anne-Hélène Lavoie why Sobeys would not pay the salary of the eight employees, given that the company norms exceed the requirements set by the Public Health Board, given the excellent sales made by the supermarkets since the start of the pandemic, and given the hard work done by the grocery stores employees and the risks they must face on a daily basis.

“We ask our employees to ask for the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit),” she repeatedly answered without adding anything.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Shores School Board released on May 8, a chart presenting the number of students registered for the May 11 elementary school resumption. That resumption was called by Quebec’s Ministry of Education, although parents are not obligated to send their children back to school.

Marjorie McRae, communications officer for the Eastern Shores School Board, specified that the overall rate of students going back to school is close to 30%.  

Hugh Wood, director general of the school board added that “these numbers may grow, or decline, over the coming weeks. All elementary schools will open with the exception of two schools on the North Shore, Flemming Elementary and Fermont Elementary, who are missing critical components of their emergency kits. Although materials have been sent to them, they have yet to receive them. That said, we made the call today to postpone their opening to May 13, hopefully allowing time for their PPEs to arrive.”

The breakdown of the 172 cases by health region (containing a hospital) is as follows: 

  • Bay of Chaleur sector – 129 (an increase of 1)
  • Rocher-Percé sector – 27 (stable)
  • Magdalen Islands – 9 (stable)
  • Côte-de-Gaspé – 5 (stable)
  • Haute-Gaspésie – less than 5 (stable)

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: 

  • 2725 deaths (an increase of 94)
  • 36,150  positive cases (an increase of 912)
  • 1827   total hospitalizations (a decrease of 9)
  •  207 people in intensive care (a decrease of 17)