Montreal

COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Thursday

Montreal's reopening has been postponed; the province's testing plans are being criticized, and find out the story of a man and his piano.

The plan to reopen schools, daycares and businesses in the greater Montreal area has been delayed

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante toured one of six city buses converted into mobile COVID-19 clinics on Tuesday as the city prepares to increasing testing. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

  • Quebec has 35,238 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 2,631 people have died. That's 121 more recorded deaths from a day earlier.
    There are 1,836 people in hospital, including 224 in intensive care. Here's a guide to the numbers.
  • The reopening of schools, daycares and businesses in Montreal has been postponed by a week.
  • By mid-May, there will be 1,350 soldiers deployed in Quebec — a mixture of medical staff and general troops, covering 25 long-term care facilities.
  • With outbreaks in provincial jails in the Montreal area, low-risk offenders serving fewer than 30 days can now seek release for medical reasons.

The Legault government will postpone the reopening of elementary schools, daycares and businesses in the greater Montreal area by one week.

The province had been facing increased criticism over its plan to open schools and daycares May 19, and businesses May 18.

Experts, including the World Health Organization, say increased testing is a must before any government lifts restrictions.

Canada's chief science adviser, Mona Nemer, told Radio-Canada Quebec still hasn't submitted a detailed plan to ramp up testing in conjunction with deconfinement.

Premier François Legault also announced Thursday that essential workers in the province's long-term care homes, private seniors' homes and hospitals with at least one COVID-19 case will be receiving a raise, using funds from a deal reached with the federal government.

Full-time workers will receive up to $1,000 in additional pay each month.

WATCH | Legault says Montreal is not yet ready to reopen

May 25 is the new target date for opening additional businesses, schools and daycares in the Montreal region, said Quebec Premier François Legault. 1:29

Hospitals running out of beds

Hospitals in the Montreal area are running out of beds, three weeks after health authorities stopped sending elderly patients back into the province's long-term care network, where the coronavirus continues to spread and claim dozens of lives each day.  

Most of the hospitalized cases are from long-term care centres, known as CHSLDs. Patients who are recovering, and no longer require hospital care, have nowhere else to go because they might still be COVID-positive and the centres are grappling with outbreaks. 

Pépé and his piano

And finally, some happy news.

When 97-year-old Roméo Boudreau was no longer able to go down to the common room of his long-term care home to play the piano, staff decided the piano would come to him.

This is the story of Pépé and his piano.

Staff at Roméo Boudreau's long-term care home staff dragged a piano to his floor so he could play. (Submitted by Manon Carrier)

Other info you should know

Experts say not testing people who might be asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers is missed opportunity.

Here's more on how the Canadian Forces are helping out in Quebec's beseiged long-term care homes.

Mona Nemer, Canada's chief science adviser, has criticized Quebec's testing plans.

It was Montreal's turn for a visit by the Snowbirds on Thursday. The Canadian Forces aerobatics team is on a cross-country mission to boost morale. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

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