Spike in new COVID-19 infections on South Shore linked to 2 house parties, Brossard bar

Several young people in the Montérégie have tested positive for COVID-19, after attending two large house parties and stopping at a bar in the DIX30 shopping centre, says the region's public health director.

Montérégie public health is asking those who visited bar Tuesday night to get tested

Public health says several people who attended Mile Public House between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. the night of June 30 have since tested positive for the virus.  (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Several young people in the Montérégie have tested positive for COVID-19, after attending two large house parties and stopping at a bar in the DIX30 shopping centre, says the region's public health director.

According to Dr. Julie Loslier, public health director of the CISSS de la Montérégie, some 60 young people attended the house parties in the region last week. More than 20 attendees have since tested positive for COVID-19.

"We found ourselves with a big number of positive cases," Loslier said.

The region has seen a spike in recent infections, with 55 of the province's 79 new cases on Sunday coming from the Montérégie.

Some of the attendees had also gone to the Mile Public House bar in the Brossard mall. Five of them tested positive for COVID-19. 

Loslier said they were likely asymptomatic the night they headed to the bar and therefore did not realize they had the virus. 

Public health authorities are asking anyone who was at the bar between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. June 30 to get tested. 

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Mile Public House says the establishment is working closely with health authorities. 

"From what we know so far, it's five people from the same group, who were seated at the same table, who tested positive. We are in contact with the people concerned," the post says.

The bar says all employees are undergoing COVID-19 tests and those who were there that night are already in isolation.

Loslier said that this type of situation could've happened in any bar or restaurant in the province. She is urging clients to respect regulations put forth by the governments and by each individual bar. 

Those rules say bar clients should be seated at all times, with the exception of using a washroom.

"If you stay at your table, there is no risk. But what we learned from our inquiries is that this was not the case," Loslier said. 

"The people that we interviewed for our epidemiological inquiries said that they were standing and they were as a group outside the bar and inside," Loslier said.

Bars across the province were given the green light to reopen  June 25. 

While public indoor gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed in the province, Quebec public health authorities have said that private indoor gatherings should be limited to 10 people from three households. 

Increase in cases among young people

On Monday, the Montérégie reported 33 new cases of the virus, bringing its total to 7,928. It is the province's second-hardest hit region, after Montreal. 

"The virus is circulating and we're strategizing. We've been seeing a lot of aggressive testing to try and stop the circulation of the virus as much as possible," said Loslier. 

Loslier said a lot of the region's recent cases have been among younger age groups. 

"The decrease in the average age in recent weeks is very real," said Loslier. "It concerns us." 

Loslier said while young people are less likely to have serious consequences from the virus, they can become carriers and infect other people who are more at risk.

"We've seen in the past months that COVID is not a trivial illness," said Loslier. 

Loslier said she's seen many residents of all ages acting as though the pandemic is over, but says it is still crucial people obey public health guidelines. 

With files from Radio-Canada

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