Covid Coercion in Quebec

In recent months, some demonstrators in Quebec have denounced what they consider government fear campaigns over COVID-19. The new measures included a mandatory rule on wearing masks during demonstrations. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

With this edict, as of October 1 the government of Quebec has put 60% of the provincial population under strict restrictions, about 4.8 million people.  The article from CBC News provides the details Quebec gives police legal tools to enter homes quickly to stop gatherings during COVID-19 Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Quebec premier clarified the province’s new COVID-19 measures in red zones

Quebec Premier François Legault says police in the province’s red zones — regions where COVID-19 cases are surging — will be issuing $1,000 fines to those who violate newly strengthened public health rules.

With fees, those fines will top $1,500 and can be issued for gathering in private residences or protesting without a face covering.

Speaking during a late-afternoon news conference on Wednesday just hours before the new rules went into effect, Legault said the negligence of a few has led to the crackdown.

“Lives are at stake. We want to keep our children in schools,” Legault said. “We also want to protect our health network”

Quebec reported 838 new cases of COVID-19 but no new deaths Wednesday. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 74,288 confirmed cases and 5,834 people have died in the province.

Home gatherings can lead to fines

Beyond the few exceptions, such as for caregivers or romantic relations, house guests are not allowed, Legault said.

Police are authorized to demand proof of residency and if residents refuse entry, officers will be able to obtain warrants faster through a new, virtual system that was established in collaboration with the Crown, the premier said.

“We had to give the police the means to intervene,” said Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault.

Protestors to be fined for refusing to wear masks

Quebec made masks mandatory inside public spaces, like bars and shops, on July 18, but there have been several protests since.

Now, anti-maskers will have to cover up if they want to march or police will be issuing fines.

All gatherings prohibited, travel discouraged

Legault said all gatherings will be banned, even outside in public parks — an activity that has grown more popular in places like Montreal during the pandemic.

“Police officers will start by trying to disperse the gatherings, but if people don’t co-operate, fines can be given,” he said.

Legault said people from red zones cannot travel to orange zones to eat in a restaurant or gather in a home. They will face fines if they do.

He said restaurants will not be required to verify residency, but police can issue a ticket if they catch people violating the rules.

People should not travel between regions to pick up groceries or run similar errands, Legault said. People can go to their cottage, for example, as long as they bring their provisions with them.

The new restrictions take effect 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday and are set to last for 28 days, until Oct. 28, in the red zones. The restrictions are:

  • A ban on home gatherings, with some exceptions, such as a single caregiver, babysitter, tradesperson or technician, allowed per visit.
  • All bars and casinos are closed. Restaurants can offer only takeout.
  • Museums, cinemas and theatres are closed.
  • Being less than two metres apart will be prohibited. Masks will be mandatory during demonstrations.
  • Houses of worship and venues for events, such as funerals and weddings, will have a 25-person limit.
  • Hair salons, hotels and other such businesses will stay open.
  • Schools will remain open.
What is the Emergency Requiring Virtual Quarantine of Healthy People

Each Friday the Quebec health research institute (INESSS) provides a statistical update of the Covid19 situation with projections regarding the key concern:  Capacity of the system to care for actual Covid cases requiring in-hospital treatment. Here is the latest information.

On the left is the history of Covid hospitalizations in Quebec to end of September.  Note that presently there about 20 people per day admitted to hospital with Covid19.  As of Oct. 1, Quebec reported 276 people in hospital (including 46 in ICU) out of covid bed capacity of 1750,.  If the 20/day new admissions rate since July 1 continues, and assuming an average length of stay of 12 days, the net of covid beds occupied should not increase and more likely would go down.  So the projections on the right side have a wide range, but even with an upward bias, the capacity is not reached.  And as the lower right shows, ICU capacity is even less likely to be overwhelmed.

On September 24, INESSS authorities said (here):

In Quebec, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 patients has dropped sharply since the beginning of the pandemic. During the first wave, about 13 per cent of cases ended up in hospital. From Aug. 10 to Sept. 6, the rate was just 5 per cent. At a technical briefing on Wednesday, researchers and officials from Quebec’s institute of excellence in health and social services (INESSS) projected that the rate for COVID-19 patients in early September would fall again to 3.8 per cent.

The drop can be explained by the relative youth of Quebeckers contracting the virus in its second wave and their relative lack of comorbidities. By contrast, in the spring, the virus tore through long-term care homes in the province, killing 4,914 elderly residents.

As a result of this shift, Quebec will not exceed its hospital capacity of about 2,000 beds in the next four weeks, according to the INESSS projections. But officials warned that a faster spread of the virus caused by careless behaviour could still put pressure on the health care system.

Above is the outlook for October from INESSS.  For both ICU and covid hospital beds observations are tracking a forecast showing slight increases.  It appears that the precautionary principle is being applied without regard for the costs of locking down: social, economic and personal well-being seem not to be part of the equation.

 

via Science Matters

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October 2, 2020 at 01:58PM

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