Coronavirus live updates: Provinces demand $28-billion boost in federal health funding

Coronavirus live updates: Provinces demand $28-billion boost in federal health funding

Province reports 297 new cases. Tam warns rapid increases in infections could quickly spiral out of control.

Author of the article:

Andy Riga

Publishing date:

Sep 18, 2020  •   •  8 minute read

MONTREAL, QUE.: SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 --  Nurses help with hand sanitizers and get information from people waiting in line for COVID-19 testing at the COVID-19 Testing Clinic at CLSC Parc-Extension on Wednesday September 16, 2020. (Pierre Obendrauf / MONTREAL GAZETTE) ORG XMIT: 65015 - 6866
Nurses help with hand sanitizers and take information from people waiting in line for testing at the Parc-Extension CLSC on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

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Check this post throughout the day on Friday, Sept. 18. Questions/comments: [email protected]


Top updates

  • 44 more Quebec students test positive
  • Provinces demand $28-billion boost in federal health funding
  • Bloc Québécois leader Blanchet tests positive
  • Police will target 1,000 Quebec bars, restaurants over the weekend
  • Quebec reports 297 new cases, one more death

More below


2:20 p.m.

Canada could ‘lose ability to keep cases at manageable levels’ – Tam

From The Canadian Press:

Rapid increases in new COVID-19 cases could quickly spiral out of control, public health officials said today.

Canada’s top public health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, said it’s too soon to declare a second wave of the pandemic across Canada, but daily case counts are increasing at an alarming rate.

“This situation increases the likelihood that we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels,” she said. “Now is the time for Canadians to redouble their efforts with personal precautions that will slow the spread of the virus.”

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The provinces also have a role to play, Tam noted, ideally by taking a targeted approach to stem outbreaks on a regional basis.


2 p.m.

Dubé to Quebecers: Please answer when public health department calls

Health Minister Christian Dubé is pleading with Quebecers to answer their phones when the public health department calls.

Dubé expressed frustration today that the province is not able to track down all possible sources of contagion when there is an outbreak, mostly because only about one-third of people are answering phone calls or return emails from health officials.

Read our full story, by Jason Magder.


1:45 p.m.

44 more Quebec students test positive

A total of 272 schools had reported cases of COVID-19 as of 4 p.m. yesterday, an increase of 25 compared to the previous day, according to statistics made public today by the Quebec government.

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Other key numbers:

  • 401 students have tested positive, an increase of 44.
  • 106 staff members have tested positive, 10 more than the previous day.
  • 189 class bubbles have been sent home and are learning remotely, an increase of 16.

Quebec has 2,685 schools and 1 million students in elementary and high schools.

You can find a list of schools with cases here.


1:30 p.m.

Provinces demand $28-billion boost in federal health funding

Provincial premiers, including Quebec’s François Legault, are in Ottawa today to ask for $28 billion more per year in federal funding for health care.

They say the need for more cash, a long-standing provincial demand, is more pressing than ever due to the pandemic.

At a press conference this afternoon, Legault noted that provinces will spend about $188 billion on health care, of which $42 billion comes from Ottawa.

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That’s 22 per cent.

Legault said provincial premiers want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to increase the federal government’s portion to 35 per cent.

That would mean an extra $28 billion per year.

“It’s time for the federal government to do its part,” Legault said.

He said the cost of health care is rising by six per cent per year due to the aging population and advances in medications and medical equipment.

“The system is broken,” added Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

This shouldn’t be seen as a federal-provincial dispute, said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. “It’s about people.”

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, for his part, highlighted the impact of health budget shortfalls on people waiting for medical procedures.

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1 p.m.

Quebec will maintain economic objectives despite pandemic: minister

The Legault government will not change its game plan to relaunch the province’s economy because of the pandemic, Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said today.

Read our full story.


12:30 p.m.

Aislin


12:25 p.m.

Quebec announces stricter enforcement in bars, restaurants

Following up on my earlier coverage of Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault’s press conference, here’s our full story, by Matthew Lapierre.


12:15 p.m.

Operation OSCAR

Quebec spent time coming up with a name for this weekend’s police blitz of bars and restaurants: OSCAR – Opération Systématisée Comportements À Risque.


12:10 p.m.

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic: survey

A new survey finds that young Canadians have been vaping less frequently since the pandemic began.

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Read our full story.


Noon

Federal health officials provide update

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11:50 a.m.

‘This breaks our heart’: Quebec town cancels Halloween event

A Halloween event that for years has seen area trick-or-treaters converge on a single street in Wakefield has been cancelled this year because of the risks posed by COVID-19.

11:45 a.m.

Bloc Québécois leader Blanchet tests positive

Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, has tested positive for COVID-19.

He had been in isolation after his wife confirmed she had been infected.

Read our full story.

D’abord, merci à toutes et tous pour les vœux 🙏🏻

Nancy et moi avons la chance de très bien nous porter.

Je pense à celles et ceux qui en ont moins 😞

Je vais donner suite à toutes mes tâches de la maison (même vélo fixe et gym) pour une grosse semaine.

Retour le 26.

Merci!

💪🏻⚜️

— Yves-F. Blanchet 🎗⚜️ (@yfblanchet) September 18, 2020

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11:40 a.m.

Canada-U.S. border will remain closed until Oct. 21

The partial closure of the Canada-U.S. border has been extended.

Read our full story.

We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until October 21st, 2020. We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.

— Bill Blair (@BillBlair) September 18, 2020

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11:35 a.m.

Police will target 1,000 Quebec bars, restaurants over the weekend

Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault says Quebec will crack down on bars and restaurants across the province.

At a press conference in Quebec City this morning, she said police forces will undertake a “massive” operation this weekend to ensure that the establishments and their customers are respecting public health directives.

“We have to do everything in our power to make sure there isn’t a second wave in Quebec,” Guilbault said.

More than 1,000 bars and restaurants are to be visited. Scofflaws could face fines of between $400 and $6,000.

The blitz will occur across Quebec, with more places visited in the eight regions under yellow alert: Montreal, Laval, Quebec City, the Eastern Townships, the Montérégie and the Chaudière-Appalaches, Outaouais and Bas-Saint-Laurent.

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However, Guilbault said the effort will not target gatherings and parties in private homes, noting that police require a warrant to enter homes.

Gatherings and parties have been a major source of outbreaks in Quebec, according to public health authorities.

Public security minister announces police launching “Operation Oscar,” sending officers this weekend into bars and restaurants to check on respect of rules.

— Philip Authier (@PhilipAuthier) September 18, 2020

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Minister @GGuilbaultCAQ says police presence this weekend will be “massive,” officers will be “very visible, very pro-active.”

— Philip Authier (@PhilipAuthier) September 18, 2020

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11:05 a.m.

Quebec reports 297 new cases, one more death

Quebec has recorded 297 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced this morning.

Quebec City reported the most cases – 86. Montreal was second, with 58.

One new death was reported.

Hospitalizations remained stable at 136.

Among those in hospital, 30 are in intensive care – one more than the previous day.

On Wednesday, 29,726 people were tested, a new record. That’s the last day for which screening data is available.

This chart shows the seven-day trend:


10:55 a.m.

Homelessness a growing problem during pandemic: Plante

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10:50 a.m.

Surge in cases checks Trudeau’s green ambitions

A recent surge in COVID-19 cases is forcing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to scale back his plan to outline an ambitious green economic recovery package next week.

In a speech seen as a possible campaign template in the case of an early election, Trudeau is set to pledge an expansion of unemployment benefits, federal money for child care, as well as some pro-environmental elements including a retrofit program to make buildings more energy-efficient, sources said.

Read our full story.


10:45 a.m.

The scariest thing about this Halloween is how quiet it’s going to be

It’s impossible to say what it will look like this year, but one sure thing a little more than a month before the big day is that it won’t be your usual Halloween.

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Read our full story, by Brendan Kelly.

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10:30 a.m.

Montreal’s economy has paid a heavy price

Six months into the crisis, it’s becoming clear what Montreal’s economic strengths are — and why the weakest links have become so fragile.

Read our full story, by Frédéric Tomesco.


9:55 a.m.

Opinion: Fun coming to a screeching halt as cases mount

“As private parties fuel a surge in COVID-19 cases in Quebec, our social lives are on the line again, as are celebrations surrounding some of our favourite holidays.”

Read the full column, by Allison Hanes.


9:20 a.m.

Police to enforce measures in bars, restaurants: report

Quebec will announce today that it’s sending police officers into bars and restaurants to ensure employees and customers are following public health directives, TVA is reporting.

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Scofflaws could face fines of between $400 and $6,000.

Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault is expected to announce details at a 11 a.m. press conference. She’ll be accompanied by seniors officers with the Sûreté du Québec and the Montreal and Quebec City police forces.

I’ll have coverage – and a live feed – of the press conference.


9:15 a.m.

Billions more for health care likely to top premiers’ wish list for throne speech

Four conservative-minded premiers are to issue today their wish list for next week’s throne speech on which the fate of Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government could hinge.

Quebec’s François Legault, Ontario’s Doug Ford, Alberta’s Jason Kenney and Manitoba’s Brian Pallister plan to hold a news conference at 1 p.m. in Ottawa to spell out what they hope to see in the speech.

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Read our full story.

I’ll have coverage – and a live feed – of the press conference.


9:15 a.m.

Video: Quebec health authorities put human face on pandemic

Quebec is working on a new advertising campaign to convince skeptics to take COVID-19 more seriously.

This is the type of ad you can expect.

Created by local health authorities, it focuses on a man who fought the virus on the front lines during the first wave.

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9:10 a.m.

How to vote in a pandemic

With municipal byelections set for Oct. 4, the provincial government is reminding voters of public health guidelines regarding voting.

Among other things, you’ll have to disinfect your hands before you receive your ballot.


9:05 a.m.

16 screening clinics are open across Montreal today

Montrealers can be tested at 16 centres across the island.


8:45 a.m.

Quebec, Ontario and Alberta have had the most recent cases

Quebec has had the most new cases over the past two weeks, according to theCanada COVID-19 Situational Awareness Dashboard.


8:30 a.m.

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Read my previous live blogs here.


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