August 8, 2020

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Quebec hospital outbreak prompts 'massive' testing as case numbers increase

Quebec Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault, Health Minister Christian Dube, right and Dr. Richard Masse, left, provide an update on the COVID-19 situation in Quebec during a new conference in Montreal, on Monday, July 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Quebec Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault, Health Minister Christian Dube, right and Dr. Richard Masse, left, provide an update on the COVID-19 situation in Quebec during a new conference in Montreal, on Monday, July 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

MONTREAL - Public health officials north of Montreal launched a "massive" round of testing to contain an outbreak at a local hospital as Quebec reported another increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases Friday.

The public health agency for the Laurentians region said all doctors and staff at a hospital in St-Eustache, Que., were being tested for the novel coronavirus.

The Saint-Eustache hospital is seen Friday, July 31, 2020 in Saint-Eustache, Que. The hospital is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 that has left 14 patients and 11 staff testing positive for the virus.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The Saint-Eustache hospital is seen Friday, July 31, 2020 in Saint-Eustache, Que. The hospital is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 that has left 14 patients and 11 staff testing positive for the virus.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Fourteen patients and 11 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since Monday, the authorities said, after outbreaks were reported in three of the hospital's 13 units.

"We are taking the situation very seriously and aren't sparing any effort to stop these outbreaks as quickly as possible," Rosemonde Landry, head of the Laurentians public health agency, said in a statement. Visits to the three affected units have been suspended until further notice, the agency said.

Meanwhile, Quebec reported 164 new cases and one new death attributed to the novel coronavirus Friday.

It was the third straight day with an increase in new infections, pushing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Quebec to 59,312. Total deaths from the disease stand at 5,674.

Public health authorities also said hospitalizations dropped by 19 for a total of 189. Of those, 15 people are in intensive care, three fewer than the prior day. The province also corrected the number of COVID-19 infections it announced Thursday, saying 139 new cases should have been reported instead of 122.

Health authorities in Quebec's Monteregie region said Friday the number of COVID-19 cases linked to an outbreak at a day camp in a Montreal suburb has increased significantly. Officials earlier this week said 27 campers and employees at Les Ateliers de Charlot l'escargot in Boucherville, Que., tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

An additional 19 people — brothers, sisters, parents and friends of the campers and staff — have also been infected, said health authority spokeswoman Martine Lesage. She said everyone who attended or worked at the day camp received a letter from the agency advising them to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.

The camp will remain closed until Aug. 7, said Lesage, adding the reopening could be delayed depending on the situation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2020.

— With files from Stephanie Marin in Montreal.

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