The government has unveiled its plan for a potential second wave of COVID-19 in Quebec. Health Minister Christian Dubé outlined the steps that the province will take to protect people. Among the highlights is a plan to hire more people in CHSLDs and to invest millions more into public health initiatives.

The minister said the government will do more to track the progression of the virus and help the elderly.

Community services are the big focus of this new plan for the second wave, with better ways for people to manage their mental health, for instance. 

Lionel Carmant, delegated Minister of Health and Social Services, explained that the government took stock of how it handled the first wave of COVID-19 and outlined ways it would do a better job of assisting vulnerable communities, like people living with a disability or who are on the autism spectrum, should a second wave happen. 

"Quebecers can rest assured that we are doing everything possible to protect them from COVID-19," stressed Dubé.

"Now that we have learned constructive lessons from the system's difficulties in recent months, we are in a position to take preventive and targeted action for a second wave of the virus."

The plan will come into action by September 30, 2020.

The government's plan includes:

  • "having a manager responsible for each CHSLD;"

  • "maintaining safe access for family caregivers;"

  • "offering home support services adapted to the needs of users;"

  • "striving to maintain regular capacity for social service programs;"

  • "massively recruiting workers in CHSLDs;"

  • "prohibiting the mobility of labour, while strictly respecting the rules of infection prevention and control (IPC);"

  • "reducing the length of the overall screening process;"

  • "supporting an optimal service offer in surgery, endoscopy and medical imaging;"

  • "ensuring the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) by entering into agreements with Quebec manufacturers for the production of strategic products;" and

  • "reaching the entire population through targeted communications tailored to different audiences."

According to the plan, regional facilities will also "have an enhanced capacity to rapidly trace cases of COVID-19, prevent and manage outbreaks in different settings, and coordinate the administration of a potential vaccine."

"This action plan, in addition to guiding us over the coming months, also reminds us of the importance of supporting vulnerable people in our communities [....] to meet the needs of these individuals, in particular by combating social isolation, distress and anxiety as well as by alleviating certain issues related to accessing services despite the confinement," said Carmant.

Seniors, especially those living in nursing homes, were particularly hard hit during the first wave of COVID-19. This action plan will aim to protect seniors, especially in residential communities like CHSLDs.

"With a view to a possible second wave, we are doing everything we can to protect our seniors and vulnerable people and ensure that caregivers will be able to fulfill their essential role alongside them," said Marguerite Blais, Minister for Seniors and Caregivers.

"This action plan is a clear gesture demonstrating the government's determination never to relive the human tragedies we have experienced. This action plan will not only contain the virus, but it will also forever transform the culture of long-term care homes in Quebec."

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