Health minister takes online grilling during first virtual meeting on healthcare

Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann faced questions from the political opposition via online conference call on Friday.

Numerous questions focused on how Quebec's healthcare system is managing under the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it will go about bringing non-COVID treatments back online.

The questons came during the first virtual meeting of the province's MNAs on healthcare matters. The online format came with some struggles as MNAs waited for permission to speak. At one point, McCann asked for permission to give the floor to public health director Horacio Arruda, which required each present MNA to give permission since Arruda is not an MNA.

Arruda used his time to stress that wearing a face covering is not a replacement for other hygienic measures such as washing hands and maintaining a two-metre distance between individuals. Still, face covering will become more important as more people take to public transit as the Quebec economy reopens.

Liberal MNA and former health minister Gaetan Barrette questioned McCann over the status of non-COVID procedures currently on waiting lists, pointing to several cardiac patients who have been waiting for more than a week for operations that were due to take place within three days.

McCann acknowledged some patients are waiting longer than they should for procedures and said Quebec's regional health boards will need to be creative in the coming months. She suggested some procedures may be moved to hospitals in other regions but that such decisions will be made by expert committees.  

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