Montreal public health says many cases of COVID-19 linked to private events

Montreal public health director Mylene Drouin offers update on the COVID-19 situation in Montreal.

By Katelyn Thomas

MONTREAL — With a recent uptick in cases across Quebec, Montreal's public health director is warning the city may be propelled into level two of Quebec's new regional alert system as early as next week if the trend persists. 

Labelled the "early warning" stage and colour-coded yellow, level two of Quebec's plan is the precursor to the orange "moderate alert" stage which would see activities the provinces deems "high-risk" either restricted or banned altogether. 

Quebec regional alert system

“There’s many elements, and perhaps I’m wrong and I’ll be very happy to be wrong,” Montreal Public Health Director Mylene Drouin told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. “The cases have continued increasing over the weekend… the average is increasing… we do have a few indicators.” 

As of Wednesday, there have been 30,246 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,474 deaths linked to the disease in the city since the start of the pandemic.  

Drouin said the good news is the situation in certain sectors has improved -- with just 20 outbreaks being investigated in the city's workplaces, one at a daycare, and no new cases being linked to bars. 

Since back-to-school, Drouin said the city has investigated 69 cases of COVID-19 at 64 instutions and has located outbreaks of the disease at two institutions. 

"But these cases sent more than 700 people into preventative isolation," she said. 

In its latest tally on Tuesday, Quebec confirmed 118 cases of COVID-19 at 70 Quebec schools, with cases from 50 additional institutions currently pending validation. In the case of the Montreal outbreaks, Drouin said one occurred when a professor infected a student and the other, when one student infected a classmate. 

Drouin said the source of the city's recent cases of COVID-19 is cause for worry because several have been traced back to private events. 

“Parties, dinners, weddings, and social activities after (playing) sports with friends,” she said. “It’s really in those events we can see there is transmission going on.”

Some cases have also been linked to carpooling in circumstanes where people weren't wearing masks. 

Drouin said these cases are the ones that are then brought into schools and long-term care homes, which could have dire consequences. 

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