On Monday it became clear that Montrealers will have to wait a little longer for the gradual process of deconfinement to begin. Citing high hospitalization numbers in the metropolitan area, Premier Legault announced a one-week postponement, to May 18, of the planned reopening of some businesses in the city. National Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda further explained that Montreal's case numbers have not attained a satisfactory downward trend.

"What is going on in Montreal is that we still have cases every day," he said, also noting a "plateau" in the number of hospitalizations and intensive care patients.

Though he said he saw evidence of "stability," he admitted that "we are not going down as we thought we would."

Regional Public Health Director Dr. Mylène Drouin echoed this point later in the day.

"We're seeing a plateau in the number of new admissions in hospitals for COVID-19 and a decrease in the number of new admissions for intensive care units. So these are positive aspects of our data," she said.

"But at the same time, globally, we are not seeing a decrease [...] in the epidemiological curve."

"We've been talking about reopening different sectors and what are the conditions that have to be put in place to ensure it is done securely," she continued.

"We know that some of those conditions are not all in place at the time we're speaking."

She and Mayor Valérie Plante said they welcome the decision by the provincial government to delay the opening of some Montreal businesses, including retail stores with their own entrances from the outside.

"It will allow us to carry on with our preparation to ensure that conditions are optimal when we reopen some sectors as well as schools," the mayor said.

"Though the battle is not over in Montreal, I want to say we are continuing the fight. We are thinking outside the box. We're putting [...] all the efforts and energy together so we can go through this as fast as possible," she concluded.

One of those efforts is a push to increase testing in highly-affected neighbourhoods.

STM buses will be deployed as mobile testing clinics in some areas to help out.

"The clinics, which will be set up by public health, are intended to support the effort to create the conditions for safe deconfinement in Montreal," the transit company wrote in a statement.

Stay tuned for more news.

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