Temporarily closed? – hopefully for the short term

By Louise Smith

The sign outside of the Princess Theater in Cowansville says it all – “closed temporarily.” Francois Legault’s press conference this past Thursday night was a serious one. Funny how the press conferences are being classified, an afternoon one is either good news or not so bad news, but 5 p.m. press conferences are serious business.

Restaurant owners had no warning that in less than 24 hours indoor dining would cease. Many people had booked at restaurants for a New Year’s Eve feast. Not only was the dining inside restaurants banned, the curfew was to start on New Year’s Eve and not the next day.

Quebec is the only province to put in a curfew. A few doctors have weighed in saying that it will slow down the numbers of people presenting to the ER if everyone is at home. The hospital system in the province was pegged at being able to handle eight hundred Covid patients and, as of Friday, over a thousand were in hospital beds. It is the health system that is at a breaking point. Staff members are overwhelmed and there are not enough back-up personnel to handle the number of staff who have come down, themselves, with Covid.

Schools are now in online learning until Jan. 17. When schools closed in March of 2020 the elementary schools only opened in May. Hopefully the closures will be of a shorter duration this time. Legault himself has said that he wishes schools to open as soon as possible.

What have not shut down are daycares for the youngest population in Quebec. The populations at daycare centers are too young to be vaccinated. The latest guidelines are raising questions by operators of these daycares. In the first two years of Covid an infected child stayed home for ten days. These rules are being changed. The recommendations are as follows for young children who come into contact with a peer who has tested positive: –
“Since children with a positive Covid case are considered at moderate risk, children and staff who are asymptomatic are not required to get tested. In addition, they are not required to isolate unless they are doing so for other reasons, such as another member of their household has tested positive for Covid. Masks continue to not be required for children in daycare centers even if they have been in contact with someone who has Covid. A child who has had Covid in the last six months is considered as being protected from getting the virus again. The Families Ministry states that staff members must monitor their health at all times and be tested only if they develop symptoms. The government added that it would make the decision whether or not a government-run daycare has to close.”

More and more doctors and scientists are predicting that this spring will herald the beginning of the end of the virus cycle. It cannot come early enough. Vaccination centers are constantly adding extra times for vaccinations. Putting vaccinations and vigilance together will see us through this winter.

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