Medically-trained members of the Canadian Armed Forces began to assess the situation in the province’s long-term care homes Saturday.
Around 125 nursing officers, medical technicians and support personnel have been sent to help after Quebec asked Ottawa for assistance earlier this week.
Lt.-Cmdr. Heather Galbraith, a physician in the Royal Canadian Navy, was at the CHSLD Yvon-Brunet in the Sud-Ouest borough on Saturday afternoon. She said the Forces’ members will evaluate the situation as quickly as possible so full resources can be deployed.
“Our airwomen and airmen and sailors are very well-poised in health care provision,” Galbraith said.
“I will say they’re not used to working in a long-term care facility, per se. However, they are very, very clinically minded.”
Seniors’ residences are the government’s main focus even as the overall coronavirus infection curve has reached a plateau, according to public health officials. The Quebec premier and health officials are no longer holding their daily briefings on weekends, but the province released updated statistics on the pandemic Saturday.
There are 743 more confirmed cases, bringing the total to 17,521.
There were 117 more deaths recorded — second only to the 143 added on April 16 — for a total of 805. There are now 1,130 people in hospital, including 258 in intensive care. The increase of 51 in intensive care is the largest single-day increase since the crisis began.
Quebec’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said Friday that the peak of deaths and hospitalizations was expected to come after the peak in overall infections. He also said that while Quebec had been successful in flattening the overall infection curve, that was not the case for seniors’ residences and long-term care centres.
COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has spread to hundreds of residents and staff at many of Quebec’s long-term care homes, known as CHSLDs.
In some homes hit hard by the outbreak, more than 100 staff have fallen sick.
Galbraith said residents at CHSLD Yvon-Brunet applauded when the Forces’ members entered the building.