COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know on Saturday

Montreal prolongs state of emergency, a new whistleblower inbox and a Laval mother is fighting to bring her kids stuck in Nigeria.

Province creates email address for whistleblowers working in health care

A sign asks Montrealers to voluntarily wear a protective mask in Montreal. A mask should cover both the nose and mouth to protect against COVID-19. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

  • Quebec has 42,183 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 3,483 people have died. That is an increase of 763 cases and 82 deaths from a day earlier.
  • There are 1,763 people in hospital (a decrease of 59), including 179 in intensive care (a decrease of 12). Here's a guide to the numbers.
  • The City of Montreal has extended its state of emergency until May 21.
  • The Health Ministry has created an email address for employees to send their concerns:

A new way for health-care workers to flag problems to the government was almost immediately dismissed by the province's largest nurses union, which said it was at best a duplication of their own confidential reporting project and at worst another effort by the government to muzzle staff.

Health Minister Danielle McCann said she wants to break the code of silence that exists within the health-care industry, with many workers expressing fear of being punished if they speak out about their difficult working conditions.

But in an interview on Radio-Canada, Nancy Bédard, president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé (FIQ), dismissed the project as a "spectacle" that aims to ensure that health-care workers "don't talk to the media and don't express themselves on social media."

Staff needed for makeshift hospital in Laval

Ten days after Laval's Place Bell was converted into an overflow location for COVID-19 patients, the centre still hasn't opened because there are not enough people to work there

With hospitals filling up, the centre was set to start receiving patients on Friday. But a health board spokesperson confirmed that evening its opening has been pushed back. 

Premier mulls overhaul of CHSLDs

Quebec Premier François Legault is considering a complete overhaul of long-term care homes.

The premier raised that possibility at a news briefing in Montreal Friday.

"These are living environments, but they are also care environments — just as important as hospitals," Legault said. 

"A lot of Quebecers are not proud of what happened in CHSLDs, myself first."

Legault repeated a vow he made earlier in the crisis to revamp the facilities in Quebec, finding ways to make them homier and more spacious.

He said private rooms for everyone would make infection control easier, allowing health-care providers to isolate and care for residents when they are sick.

Laval teens stuck in Nigeria

For the past two months, all Amara Onyebuchi has been able think to about is how to get her children home from Nigeria.

Her three children, Canadian citizens aged 12, 13 and 15, were getting to know their roots by spending time with family and friends in eastern Nigeria when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in mid-March.

By the time Onyebuchi and her husband tried to arrange an early flight home for them, the airport in Lagos was closed to international commercial flights.

Every attempt to get them on a plane back to Canada has been hit-and-miss since then.

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