Claiming the COVID-19 situation is “critical” because of increased positive cases in recent days, Quebec Premier François Legault declared a Red Alert and new restrictions for Montreal, Laval, and the South Shore, as well as Quebec City, from at least Oct. 1 to Oct. 28.
“If nothing changes, in the next few weeks we can expect an increase in deaths and a sharp increase in hospitalizations,” the Premier contended at a press conference Monday afternoon. “This might overwhelm our hospitals and force us to postpone surgeries and other urgent treatments.”
The new restrictions include:
• No visits to one’s home from people living at another address. A “single visitor from another address for single individuals” is allowed, as are “informal caregivers, individuals offering services or support and labour for planned work.”
• At CHSLDs and private seniors residence, there can be “visits for humanitarian purposes, visits by informal caregivers — one person at a time and a maximum of two people per day in CHSLDs.”
• Private gatherings are prohibited.
• Activities organized in a public place are prohibited, “except for places of worship and funerals,” during which there can only be a maximum of 25 people — a register must be kept.
• Inter-regional travel is “not recommended toward a green, yellow or orange zone and outside Quebec, except for essential travel, workers, shared custody and freight transportation.”
• Auditoriums, cinemas, theatres, libraries and museums are once again closed.
• Restaurants are open for take-out, but not for on-site dining. Bars, taverns and casinos are closed altogether.
• Schools remain open, as do businesses, boutiques and stores — during the last lockdown, non-essential businesses, including most parts of malls, were closed.
• Private professional and health services are “open only for services that require an individual’s presence.”
A provincial commissioned report on the CHSLD Herron’s outbreak of coronavirus last spring that resulted in 38 deaths of senior citizens has been released. The report, written by Sylvain Gagnon, noted that one of the main reasons for the deaths and subsequent abandonment by staff was “organizational negligence.” There were 38 deaths confirmed during the early spring between March 26th and April 16th.
The report noted that when the West Island Regional Health Board (CIUSSS) officials arrived to inspect the premises of the Dorval based senior’s residence, there were only three employees present to handle more than 120 residents. Many residents were found to “soiled, because their incontinence briefs had overflowed and the beds were dirty and the stains suggested it was several days old.
“When the incontinence briefs were changed, several residents had burns on their skin and the hygiene of the genital areas had not been done adequately,” the report noted.
Chronic staff shortages prior to the pandemic were noted. The report stated that “between January 2017 and the end of March 2020, the home had four different nursing directors” and the residence tried to hire permanent staff but working conditions and lack of help contributed to “cycle that is difficult to break” with new staff quitting and very few taking their place.
“It is clear with such a turnover of staff, things must continually be redone,” the report noted. Besides noting the horrible conditions the staff and residents were dealing with during the early months of the coronavirus quarantine, the report did make some recommendations to prevent further devastating results should there be a serious second wave. Some of the report’s suggestions are the need to rapidly improve “information systems, including callback lists and scheduling.
During the early days of the crisis, staff did not have enough PPEs, something that is “imperative that such provisions be sufficient for worst-case scenarios.” It was also suggested that health boards “should have more power to intervene in a crisis”. CHSLD Herron was placed into trusteeship by the West Island Health Board in April.