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Regional update: Two new cases of COVID-19


CARLETON – The Public Health Board is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 in the Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands for an overall total of 165.

The source of the two new cases is known but not linked to the larger epidemiological clusters in the region.

Five people have recovered from COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 59.

There are no new hospitalizations and two patients are still being treated for COVID-19 at the Rimouski hospital.  There are currently 38 health sector employees that have the virus.

Meanwhile, with the Quebec government discussing a gradual “deconfinement plan” and the eventual opening of the regions that have been less affected by the pandemic to tourists from the province’s main urban areas, Dr. Yv Bonnier-Viger, director of the Gaspé Peninsula and Magdalen Islands Public Health Board, and his colleagues from other rural regions are recommending “to maintain the check points as long as possible.”

Dr. Bonnier-Viger isn’t providing an exact date but refers to the beginning of the summer and the arrival of tourists. He says that “as long as possible” could mean a modification to the rules, so that tourism could be limited to campgrounds, for example.

He also stresses that owners of summer homes wishing to return will ideally have to respect a quarantine upon their arrival. On the other hand, he convenes that a quarantine is ill-adapted for other tourists, since their stay is often shorter than 14 days.  He states that “there is an assumption of risk; the people that are coming will potentially bring the virus.”

Dr. Bonnier-Viger points out that “deconfinement” must consist of respecting the same precautions that are currently enforced. “People with symptoms such as fever, respiratory problems and the loss of smell must stay home. Everybody must keep washing their hands often and maintain social distancing,” he insists.