• Legault took a different tone in his Friday press briefing, expressing regret that he didn't act sooner to raise pay for orderlies in CHSLDs.
  • The government's focus has turned to senior residences, where Legault has said the situation is "critical."
  • A lack of staff has exacerbated the situation.

Legault took a different tone at his daily press briefing Friday. The Premier expressed regret at the condition of CHSLDs going into the crisis, particularly when it comes to orderlies' pay. "I know that many Quebecers are wondering how we could have ended up in the situation we are in," he admitted, referring to the outbreaks in senior residences.

It's a question the Premier said has been bothering him as well, offering rare insight into his own state of mind and evaluation of his tenure.

"I confess that I have been asking myself for several days, several nights: What else should I have done in the last few months, in the year and a half that I have been Prime Minister?"

"I've tried to replay in my head and re-replay in my head what I've been doing for a year and a half."

In a stark moment, Legault said he "[takes] full responsibility" for the lack of action to increase pay quickly.

"I think that if I had to do it all over again, I would have had to increase the salaries of the beneficiary attendants more quickly, even without the unions' agreement."

"We entered this crisis ill-equipped and, obviously, the situation deteriorated for all sorts of reasons." He further pointed to a lack of 1,800 staff members in CHSLDs across the province.

In recent weeks, as the situation in hospitals "stabilizes," Legault said Thursday, the government's focus has turned to the protection of the vulnerable population in such residences.

On April 14, he implored "every health worker" to "come forward" and offer assistance.

On April 16, he extended the call for help to graduating students.

In Montreal, according to the regional public health authority, 82 public residences have at least one confirmed infection.

Even though the region has attained a plateau in the progression of cases, Regional Public Health Director Dr. Mylène Drouin explained Thursday, "our biggest concern is for the senior citizens living in residences and CHSLDs."

The city will begin sending automated calls to seniors in its territory to point them toward resources they may need and give them an opportunity to voice their concerns.

"I want you to know that if you receive a call, it's not phishing and it's important to listen to the whole message," said Mayor Plante.  

Stay tuned for more news.

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