LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 28, 2020: NORTH SHORE – CISSS PRESS BRIEF COVERAGE
A press briefing was held this afternoon by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord (CISSS de la Côte-Nord) regarding the COVID-19 situation on the North Shore. The press briefing was led by Ms. Dyane Benoît, the Deputy Director General, and CISSS Medical Consultant, Dr. Richard Fachehoun.
Dyane Benoît began by speaking about Quebec Premier François Legault’s decision to send elementary children back to school. Ms. Benoît reiterated the fact that even thought certain activities and businesses will recommence, like daycare centers and primary schools, that it must be a slow and gradual deconfinement. “We must not act like the pandemic is over; we still have to take this seriously,” she added.
The CISSS de la Côte-Nord continues to ask residents to respect the social distancing requirement of 2 metres, and reminds of the importance of hand washing. Social gatherings are still not permitted, families and get togethers are not allowed. It was also said that the deconfinement of the population would be progressive. Ms. Benoît stated, “We understand that with the weather becoming nicer, people want to get out and go to the beach, or play sports. We understand it’s tempting, but we are asking the public not to go in this direction.”
For the moment, there is no questioning by the Government of Quebec concerning the police checkpoints that remain in place to limit travel to the essential traffic only.
Ms. Benoît also understands that grandparents are waiting to see their grand children. “However, at this point, elderly people need to remain in confinement. The CISSS de la Côte-Nord recommends to continue levels of communication with elderly loved ones threw social medial/video chat,” said Ms. Benoît. She also reminded that the elderly population should only leave their homes for essential activities, or for emergencies. It was also reiterated that if anyone has medical questions or if in need of a medical consultation for COVID-19, to please call 1-877-644-4545. If anyone is feeling anxious or stressed, to please call the phone line 811 Info-Social for assistance.
Dr. Richard Fachehoun, medical consultant to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, spoke briefly about the amount of confirmed COVID cases on the North Shore. To date there are 113 in total, of which 85 people are considered cured, and that 28 people are currently in self isolation. Questions arose regarding the Government of Quebec website, which noted today that there are 114 cases of COVID-19 on the North Shore. Dr. Fachehoun answered that the CISSS assessment of 113 cases is indeed correct. A problem in the computer algorithm system is the origin of the difference between the numbers reported on the Government of Quebec website.
It was mentioned last week that there would be clear directives released from the CISSS de la Côte-Nord to the public regarding senior COVID cases being sent by medevac, and if an escort could join the patient at hospital. CFBS inquired for an update on if a decision had been made regarding the senior medical transports. Dyane Benoît, Deputy Director General of the CISSS, answered that although certain rules apply for children under the age of 18, for adults at the moment it is not possible with the evacuation regulations. Although, she added, that for humane reasons, or case-by-case, there can be other ways of transporting people.
With the return of elementary children to school in May, CFBS inquired on the current position of the CISSS regarding isolation measures for seniors on the Lower North Shore and if they too will be allowed to resume some normal daily activities in the near future. In response, Ms. Benoît said that for all of the elderly population of the region, it will be important to respect the social distancing protocols, it is going to be a gradual deconfinement.
CFBS also brought up the lack of mental health services on the Lower North Shore and inquired on the plan of action of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord to provide mental health care to the population, especially with the added stress of COVID-19. Ms. Benoît acknowledged that on the side of psychological counselling, there are certain difficulties in terms of access to staff, but once again reminded that 811 Info Social, option 2, is available to all of the population, and there will always be someone who is available to respond to calls for this type of service.
CFBS asked about the re-emergence of COVID-19 cases on the North Shore recently. Last week there had been two days of 0 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the North Shore region, and then there were new cases confirmed again this past weekend, and if this was possibly due to delayed test results. Dr. Richard Fachehoun answered that it is not due to delayed results from the tests. For two days, there were no new cases, and then the CISSS had received a positive test. He also stated that currently, there are no significant delays when it comes to receiving COVID test results. “We are actually averaging two to three days and then we have the test results, we even get results practically the same day that the tests are taken” added Dr. Fachehoun.