The health measures taken in the context of the second wave of the coronavirus in Montreal seem to be slowly bearing fruit as Public Health sees “a certain plateau” or even a drop in the transmission of the disease in Montreal.
Since the end of August, in the context of the start of the school year and the return to work of many parents at the end of the summer, the spread of the coronavirus has resumed with more vigor in the metropolis and its surroundings. A decision that prompted the Legault government to move Greater Montreal to the maximum alert level – or red zone – from the end of September.
This decision, which notably led to the closure of bars, the dining room of restaurants and put the cultural community on hiatus, would start to bear fruit in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the region.
“We have obviously had an increase in cases since the end of August. But, since the last week, we have seen a certain plateau, or even a drop in incidence rates and positivity rates, which are fairly stable, in almost all Montreal neighborhoods, ”said Tuesday. the regional director of public health of Montreal, Mylène Drouin. The latter took part at 12:30 p.m. in a virtual conference organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM).
However, we must not “cry victory” too quickly, warns the expert. “Our indicators remain in the red, therefore at levels that are deemed unacceptable to maintain the capacity of our health network,” she recalls.
Ms. Drouin did not want to come forward regarding the possibility of certain restrictions falling at the end of the month in Montreal. However, she conceded that this partial confinement will not be able to continue all winter.
“It opens up the possibility that after the 28 [octobre], we are reconsidering some of the decisions we have taken ”, rejoices the president of the CCMM, Michel Leblanc, in an interview with Metro.
“It is not true that we will be able to cut people’s social life for six months or nine months.” -Mylène Drouin, Regional Director of Public Health of Montreal
The transmission of the coronavirus in the workplace also seems to be fairly limited. Since the start of the pandemic, Public Health has reported around 370 outbreaks in these locations, a majority of which involve 10 or fewer employees. Of this number, 58 outbreaks are currently considered active. These involve a total of 212 employees who work in particular in businesses and manufacturing companies in Montreal.
These data, which exclude outbreaks involving health workers, are reassuring for Mylène Drouin.
“We still have an island that has more than 60,000 workplaces and we have nevertheless had few large outbreaks to date. So, we see that employers see all the advantages of implementing the right measures [sanitaires]», She notes.
The latter also emphasizes that in many cases, employees have acquired the virus outside their workplace or “in the social contexts” that it brings, for example when taking their break. dinner with colleagues. She also wished to remind workers who think they have symptoms of COVID-19 to “not go back to work”, stressing that financial assistance programs exist to guarantee them an income during their isolation.
“What we see in certain sectors of activity and with vulnerable workers is that workers are afraid or do not want to go for testing because they know what the consequence is [l’isolement], then they think that they will not have a salary during the 10 or 14 days during which they will have to isolate themselves, ”said Ms. Drouin.
According to the CCMM, the occupancy rate of office towers remains between 5 and 10% in downtown Montreal. However, very few outbreaks have been reported in these establishments since the start of the pandemic, confirmed Ms. Drouin. She also indicated that Public Health does not intend, for the moment, to recommend a reduction in the maximum capacity of 25% of office towers decreed by Quebec.
“So we still have some leeway,” said Mr. Leblanc. In an interview, he said that, according to him, Quebec should withdraw this maximum occupancy rate to “migrate towards very clear objectives of health rules”.
“Currently, working in the towers in the city center is not a risk, despite the red zone,” he adds.