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

Quebec's museums, libraries and drive-in movie theatres will be the first cultural activities to reopen in the province, as of May 29. Libraries will also reopen, but in a limited capacity.

Quebec's museums, libraries and drive-in theatres to be 1st cultural activities to reopen, as of May 29

The City of Montreal is giving pedestrians and cyclists extra space this summer to help them follow physical-distancing guidelines. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

The latest:

  • Quebec has 46,141 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 3,865 people have died. That is an increase of 646 cases and 65 deaths from a day earlier.
  • There are 1,479 people in hospital (a decrease of 25), including 171 in intensive care (a decrease of five). 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.
  • Children's summer day camps will be allowed to open June 22.
  • You can find out where Montreal's mobile testing sites are here.

Quebec's museums, libraries and drive-in movie theatres will be the first cultural activities to reopen in the province. 

As of May 29, museums can reopen, but visitors must keep their distance from others. Libraries will also reopen, but in a limited capacity — visitors will only be able to pick up and return items in a designated zone by the counter and will not be able to browse the library aisles.

Quebec Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault and Culture Minister Nathalie Roy made that announcement Friday at a news conference in Montreal, the Canadian epicentre of the pandemic.

Testing still falls short

The province is still short of its goal to conduct 14,000 tests per day, and epidemiologists say that testing capacity must be increased to safely reopen.

"The 14,000 tests is a key ingredient, and the other key ingredient is to follow the guidelines," such as physical distancing and wearing a mask, Guilbault said.

That testing goal was set three weeks ago, but Quebec has yet to achieve it.

"This is one of the most important parts of safely reopening the economy," said Dr. Robert Platt, an epidemiologist at McGill University.

In Montreal, neither testing nor contact tracing are being conducted widely enough to significantly reduce the risks of reopening on Monday, said Dr. Nimâ Machouf, an epidemiologist and instructor in the school of public health at Université de Montréal.

"In my opinion, Montreal is not ready. It's still too soon," she said.

Environment Canada's Montreal HQ closed due to outbreak

Environment and Climate Change Canada has closed its weather forecasting centre in downtown Montreal for at least two weeks due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

In the meantime, centres in other cities will make Quebec forecasts. 

The first case was reported Wednesday, and by Sunday five staff members were infected. The last of which there had not been in direct contact with previous cases. 

Teacher collecting computers for students who can't afford them

Ismaël Seck has been travelling around Montreal on his bike picking up donated distance learning equipment for disadvantaged students. (Submitted by Ismaël Seck)

Ismaël Seck is a special needs teacher at Lucien-Pagé, a high school that serves students from predominantly low-income Montreal neighbourhoods. 

"The fact that not everyone has access to technology and the internet, it is not an abstract concept," Seck told As It Happens host Carol Off. 

He's working with his fellow teachers and volunteers around the city to collect donations of computers, tablets, monitors and other equipment, and get them into the hands of the kids who need them.

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