Wearing a mask will be mandatory in the common areas of private residences for the elderly in several regions of Quebec from next week, the Quebec Ministry of Health announced on Friday, in a context of increasing cases of COVID- 19 in these establishments.
The new order for masks will affect retirement homes, where residents have more autonomy than long-term care homes, in regions such as Montreal, Laval, the Eastern Townships and the Outaouais .
Health officials said there were 67 active cases of COVID-19 in retirement homes across Quebec. Nearly half of those cases were linked to an outbreak at Manoir Gouin in Montreal, where 32 residents have active cases of COVID-19 and three have died.
There have been no other deaths linked to active outbreaks of COVID-19 in seniors’ residences across the province, the health ministry added.
Health officials said there were 41 cases of COVID-19 linked to long-term care facilities, called CHSLDs, and two deaths linked to outbreaks active in those centers.
A resident of the fifth floor of the Maimonides Geriatric Center in Montreal tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, according to a spokesperson for the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.
Those who have come in close contact with the resident are being tested, but there are no other confirmed cases there, the spokesperson said.
Hospitalizations on the rise
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health announced Thursday that it has asked hospital managers in five regions, including Montreal, Laval and Outaouais, to increase the number of beds reserved for COVID-19 patients.
The increase is “mainly the result of the demand for intensive care beds for COVID patients,” said Marjorie Larouche, spokesperson for the ministry.
Increasing the number of beds reserved for COVID-19 patients will reduce the number of beds available for other patients, she said.
A government health research institute, INESSS, said Thursday that while the number of new COVID-19 cases in the province has stabilized after rising for two months, it expects the number of Hospitalizations related to the disease continue to increase over the next three weeks.