Montreal·THE LATEST

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

Good news, says Quebec's deputy premier, Geneviève Guilbault — soon, Quebecers will be allowed to gather in small groups outdoors, and visit the dentist or another private health-care provider.

Small outdoor gatherings permitted as of Friday; dentists, private health care providers to reopen June 1

Starting Friday, Quebecers will be allowed to gather in small numbers, outdoors. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

  • Quebec has 44,775 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 3,718 people have died. That is an increase of 578 cases and 71 deaths from a day earlier.
  • There are 1,516 people in hospital (a decrease of 20), including 183 in intensive care (an increase of three). Here's a guide to the numbers.
  • Small outdoor gatherings will be allowed as of Friday, May 22.
  • Dentists and other private health providers across the province will reopen June 1.
  • Personal care businesses, such as hairdressers, will be allowed to reopen outside Montreal and Joliette June 1.
  • You can find out where Montreal's mobile testing sites are here.

Starting Friday, people in Quebec will soon be allowed to gather in groups of a maximum of 10 outside, while still maintaining social distance, said the province's deputy premier, Geneviève Guilbault.

Guilbault said the gatherings should consist of people from three different households.

The announcement was made in consultation with public health, which gave the province the green light, she said. 

Hairdressers expected to open in June

Guilbault also said more businesses and services will soon be allowed to reopen outside the greater Montreal area.

Starting June 1, private health services, such as dentists and physiotherapists, will be allowed to reopen across the province.  A list of allowed services can be found here.

Those who provide personal-care services, like hairdressers, will be allowed to open on the same date outside of the Montreal area and Joliette, in the Lanaudière region, where there are still significant outbreaks.

There's no immediate plan to open such businesses in the Montreal area.

Health Minister Danielle McCann said the province's public health directorate has worked closely with the workplace health and safety board (CNESST) and with the various professions to create virtual guides specific to each service.

"This has to be done while ensuring everyone's protection — the protection of workers and clients as well," McCann said. "So there will be rigorous prevention measures set up."

No automatic exemption for workers

If a health-care worker has a vulnerable family member and requests to be removed from jobs where exposure to COVID-19 patients is high, they won't necessarily be exempted. 

One woman CBC spoke to found out the regional health agency she works for was reassigning her to help care for COVID-19 patients.

Knowing her young child was highly susceptible to respiratory infections, she begged her supervisor not to send her to the front line, but she wasn't given a choice. 

When it comes to an immunocompromised family member, each situation is individually assessed by the employer and its health and safety offices, according to a Health Ministry spokesperson.

Allowed to cross for funeral arrangements, not the burial

One Gaspé family was left reeling after being stopped from crossing the small bridge that connects Pointe-à-la-Croix, Que., and Campbellton, N.B., where their loved one was about to be buried. 

Mica Guitard waited two long months for the ground to thaw so that she could bury her late father. When that day finally came last Friday, Guitard and her family stood at the Quebec-New Brunswick border, mortified, as an officer turned them away — preventing them from getting to the funeral.
Mica Guitard, left, and her mother Julie Goudreau, were turned away at the New Brunswick border last week. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

Other info you should know

Kanesatake Mohawks set up checkpoints at the entrance to Oka provincial park Wednesday, as the park was due to reopen, stopping cars as they arrived and asking their occupants to turn around and leave.

Quebec Premier François Legault says his government is considering using the contact-tracing app COVI to help determine who may have been in contact with someone infected with the novel coronavirus. 

Montreal has been opening more testing sites across the city. You can find them here. 

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