COVID-19 in Quebec: the Bas-Saint-Laurent, the region least affected

COVID-19 au Québec: le Bas-Saint-Laurent, la région la moins touchée

With only 34 individuals affected by the COVID-19, the Bas-Saint-Laurent is the region with the least number of cases per capita in Quebec.

April 17, 2020 20h43


COVID-19 in Quebec: the Bas-Saint-Laurent, the region least affected

COVID-19 au Québec: le Bas-Saint-Laurent, la région la moins touchée

Johanne Fournier

Special Collaboration


MATANE, quebec — While the Quebec reached a peak with 16 798 cases of COVID-19, the number of people tested positive to the disease remains stable for a week in the Bas-Saint-Laurent. With only 34 individuals with, it is the Quebec region with the least number of cases per capita. The Direction de la santé publique du Bas-Saint-Laurent considers, without being able to confirm, that more than half of the 34 cases are cured.

The number of 34 cases in the Bas-Saint-Laurent is very low compared to those of other regions of the East-of-Quebec and the Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine has 111 cases and the Côte-Nord region 104. According to the statistics of the national Institute of public health of Quebec, the province with 27.3 confirmed cases per 100 000 inhabitants. For the same ratio of population, the Bas-Saint-Laurent, records 17 cases. The Bas-Saint-Laurent is followed far enough by the Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James with 27,3 case and the Outaouais with 48,3 individuals tested positive for coronavirus.

While the seven MRC’s eight-count 5 cases or less each on their territory, it is one of Rivière-du-Loup, which presents the most important focus of infection, with 21 patients of the COVID-19, or 62% of the cases in the Bas-Saint-Laurent. We should remember that it is in Rivière-du-Loup that showed the first cases in the region. He was an employee of First Tech. “Since it is, in spite of everything, in small numbers, we cannot give information about these 21 cases for the sake of privacy,” said the counsellor to the relations with the media Centre integrated health and social services (CISSS) in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Ariane Doucet-Michaud. The regional direction of public health regretted a single death, which would have been incurred in the Kamouraska, more precisely to La Pocatière.

The possible factors

According to the CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent, four factors may explain the low rate of cases of coronavirus in the region. “Generally, there is a good compliance of the guidelines of social distancing throughout the territory, says Ms. Doucet-Michaud. It’s the same in homes for the elderly and NURSING homes, where workers apply the recommendations with rigour.” As a second hypothesis, the spokesperson of the organization believes that, while the number of cases increased in the urban areas, the region is protected, on the 28th of march, by limiting the movement of inter-regional. “We have not yet had a case in the RPA [residences for the elderly] or any type of living environment for the elderly, which emits it as another possible cause. These are unfortunate situations that increase the number of cases quickly.”

It also considers that the exceptional collaboration of all the people, “who have been transparent about their movements and contacts during the epidemiological investigations,” has helped limit the spread of the virus. “However, our situation could change overnight if we had an outbreak in a residence or even if there was an important release,” warns Ariane Doucet-Michaud.

Economic recovery desired

The MRC has the largest population of the Bas-Saint-Laurent, either Rimouski-Neigette, only 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its community, which is comprised of some 57 500 inhabitants. For the mayor of the city centre, the Rimouskois should consider themselves very lucky to have been somewhat spared by the spread of the virus. Although Marc Parent says he did not release the hygiene measures, it is believed, however, that it is time to restart the economy. “We can not wait for a vaccine, consider it. I think that one can not expect to live in a vacuum even a year. […] But we will not head down there. It is important to think about now.”

In his opinion, it is essential to put the economy on track, where it will be guided by standards designed to provide a sense of security among consumers. “This summer, all the major events are cancelled, said Mr. Parent. It was money extremely important for the merchants, restaurateurs and hoteliers. We need to find a way to restart the economy, but with the realities of the COVID-19.”

Establishment of a certification

Mayor Parent feels a lot of anxiety at the approach of the tourist season, in which the economic benefits are significant for Rimouski. “What will happen to the tourist season?, if he asked. Is this the Bas-Saint-Laurent and the Gaspésie region will be able to enjoy this important contribution of the sub? I would tend to believe that yes. Presumably, one should, in the course of the next few weeks, be seeing a loosening of the standards of accessibility of the regions.”

Mr. Parent urges the government Legault to put in place a certification. The latter, which would be the intention of the merchants, the restaurateurs, the hospitality industry and municipalities, could be called “Hygiene 19”, he suggests. “You would think that a couple, entering a restaurant, could see the logo “Hygiene 19″, which would confirm that it’s a restaurant and there meets the standards set by the government, provide it as an example. I urge seriously the government of Quebec to think of this approach. It is possible that it does already. We need these tools […].”

Le Soleil

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