CARLETON: – Two more Gaspesians died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total in the region to six. As was the case for three of the previous four casualties, the victims were residents of the Manoir du Havre in Maria, a private home for seniors.
The sixth casualty was also linked to the Manoir du Havre despite the fact that the victim died in Chandler. The woman had been in contact with someone who was infected, in connection with the Manoir du Havre outbreak.
The two new victims were people “more than 70 years of age and suffering from chronic diseases,” points out Dr. Yv Bonnier-Viger, director of the Public Health Board.
One of the four new cases reported by the Public Health Board is also related to the Manoir du Havre outbreak. Of the 103 cases of COVID-19 in the Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands, 64 are part of the Manoir du Havre outbreak. 60% of that facility’s 30 residents have been infected with the coronavirus.
The possibility that the region is dealing with its first case or cases of community transmission is becoming more likely every day, adds Dr. Bonnier-Viger. “We still have one, or two, or three cases… or let’s say, a few infection cases, whose source is still unidentified, transmission-wise.”
Currently Dr. Bonnier-Viger is not aware of the details of the three other cases reported in today’s numbers and consequently can’t link them to other small outbreaks in the region.
Meanwhile, the reopening of certain services and industries including mining, landscaping, garages and residential construction has Dr. Bonnier-Viger issuing warnings about new risks of outbreaks if certain precautions are not applied.
“People experiencing symptoms (fever, respiratory problems, lack of smell) should stay home, it is very important,” he emphasizes. He adds that “keeping two metres between human beings, two full arm lengths, and washing hands,” will remain the most important measures. “If people don’t do that, we are at risk of triggering other pandemic waves and waiting even longer for the resumption of other activities.” Dr. Bonnier-Viger, isn’t ruling out the application of social distancing until a vaccine is found, which could take between 12 and 18 months.
Chantal Duguay, director general of the Regional Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CISSS), points out that her call to recruit support staff for seniors’ residences in the region was heard by a lot of people. However, “there are still many positions to fill, such as nurses, auxiliary nurses and care givers,” stresses Ms. Duguay. She intends to present an update of her recruitment drive on Friday.