Quebec reports 61 more fatalities, INSPQ warns of reopening Greater Montreal area too early
Health officials in Quebec recorded an additional 61 fatalities, raising the province’s death toll to 2,786.
It’s the smallest increase in deaths the province has recorded since April 16, according to Steve Faguy of the Montreal Gazette.
Those fatalities are among the province’s 36,986 total cases after 836 new patients were identified. There are also 9,268 people who have recovered from the respiratory virus, an increase of 240 since Friday.
Of the province’s 1,835 hospitalizations (up by eight) there are 204 in intensive care (a decrease of two). As of its last update, Quebec has performed 244,384 negative tests for COVID-19 to go along with its positive diagnoses.
Montreal’s COVID-19 epidemic continues with 18,855 cases and 1,760 fatalities, increases of 420 and 33, respectively.
The city is scheduled to reopen its elementary schools, daycares and some retail stores with outdoor entrances on May 25. The date has been pushed back twice, and is still subject to change, but Quebec’s public health institute (INSPQ) released a report that predicts the consequences of lifting physical distancing restrictions too soon.
“A small increase in social contact could lead to a rapid increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” said the report.
INSPQ suggests that the Greater Montreal region could see as many as 10,000 new cases a day by June, and there could be as many as 150 daily deaths and 500 hospitalizations by July.
The Greater Montreal area is currently the hardest hit part of the country. According to the report, it comprises of Montréal, Laval, Montérégie, Laurentides et Lanaudière; together, they account for 31,908 cases and 2,516 deaths out of Quebec’s total of 36,986 and 2,786, respectively.
Along with outbreaks at long-term care homes, the Greater Montreal region is also experiencing sustained community spread in several of its regions. The INSPQ report’s projections don’t include long-term care homes, while the institute says that it has incorporated a wide range of projections that are “tough to determine.”
The report suggests that lifting COVID-19 measures outside of Montreal would likely result in a slight increase in diagnoses. The province, besides Montreal, will start to lift restrictions on Monday for schools, daycares and businesses.