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Quebec Tried To Clarify Its COVID Recommendations & What It Means To 'Live With The Virus'

It's still "a good idea" to have a mask ready in some situations, according to public health.

Staff Writer
Dr. Marie-France Raynault at a press conference. Right: Masked person coming out of the Saint-Laurent subway station.

Dr. Marie-France Raynault at a press conference. Right: Masked person coming out of the Saint-Laurent subway station.

In a press conference thursday afternoon, the senior strategic medical advisor of the Direction générale de la santé publique of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS), Dr. Marie-France Raynault, explained the province’s current approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Raynault cited INSPQ polls which she says showed that Quebecers have "very varied understandings" of what it means to be living with COVID-19.

"Living with the virus means taking simple and effective measures that integrate well with normal life," Raynault clarified.

According to Raynault, the situation in this seventh wave is not as severe as it was in the very first wave of the pandemic, as hospitals are less encumbered by emergency patients.

She asked that people take rapid tests when they experience COVID-like symptoms and reminded them to follow the minimum five-day isolation requirement if they test positive.

"Many people, unfortunately, continue to show up to work or family and friend gatherings when they have symptoms," Raynault added. This behaviour goes against the province's formal guidelines.

Because you can remain contagious for up to 10 days, Raynault asked that people "wear a mask and stick to essential activities" when they come out of their mandatory isolation period.

Even though masking isn’t mandatory — and isn’t expected to be any time soon — she said it’s "a good idea to have [a mask] ready in large crowds, public transit, crowded public places [...] and in the presence of vulnerable individuals."

"Respiratory etiquette, for us, consists especially of abstaining from going out when you have respiratory symptoms and wearing a mask if you absolutely must go out," she explained.

She also called summer the "ideal" time to take advantage of natural ventilation, encouraging people to open their windows at home and in their workplaces.

"Our objective is also to lower transmission as much as possible before the beginning of fall, when we know we'll be inside and the risk will increase," Raynault said.

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