Quebec Premier François Legault is encouraging people in a position to volunteer in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis to come forward.
The province will launch a new website Thursday aimed at getting more people to assist at places such as food banks.
“We’re counting on you to create a wave of solidarity in Quebec. But always in respect of the rules: wash your hands; no gatherings; distancing,” Legault said at his daily briefing.
“We are an army of Quebecers united in the fight against the virus.”
The total number of Quebec cases climbed again Thursday, from 1,339 a day earlier to 1,629, and the number of fatalities climbed to eight.
But Legault said he was pleased that Quebecers were adhering to the restrictions and closures put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“We need everyone to do their part and to show solidarity,” he said.
Last week, Quebec banned gatherings of two or more people, other than those already living in the same dwelling.
Not everyone is complying, however.
In Gatineau, police issued a $1,000 fine to a tenant who was hosting a gathering at home.
Police say they were called to the apartment shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday. When they arrived, two tenants and five people who did not live in the dwelling were present.
New testing centre for Côte Saint-Luc
In Montreal, a new drive-thru testing site is expected to open by the end of the week in Côte Saint-Luc.
The municipality declared a state of emergency last week when it learned four people had been confirmed to have COVID-19 after attending two separate we. One of them lived in a seniors’ residence.
The regional director of public health for Montreal, Dr. Mylène Drouin, said 42 per cent of the city’s confirmed cases came from central and western parts of the island, such as Côte Saint-Luc and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
“This population has a lot of elders,” she said. “It is quite important to make sure that those elders are isolated or confined.”
Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said he expects to see about 500 people at the testing centre every day.
“We want them not going shopping. We don’t want them on the streets,” Brownstein said. “We want them in self-isolation, and we want them to know if they’re positive.”
Mohawks turn away non-resident shoppers
The two Mohawk communities near Montreal have closed their alcohol, tobacco and cannabis stores for the foreseeable future.
Kahnawake and Kanesatake have put the measures in place to encourage people to abide by the directives to stay two metres apart from one another and deter non-residents from visiting to shop.
Kanesetake Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon said visitors from Ontario and Quebec were “posing a direct threat to our community.”
“COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire around the world. We’re not immune to it,” Simon said.
Paramedics in self-isolation
One paramedic with Urgences-santé, which serves the Montreal and Laval regions, has tested positive for COVID-19.
The ambulance service said the paramedic has been isolated at home since symptoms appeared. Anyone who may have been in contact with the infected case has been notified.
There are about 70 paramedics currently in self-isolation, either because they travelled recently or because they came in contact with a confirmed case, the service said.
Urgences-santé has responded to 647 calls about a potential COVID-19 infection since March 1.
In the capital region, Quebec City’s public transit company, the RTC, is adapting its bus schedule to deal with an unprecedented eighty per cent drop in ridership.
President Remy Normand says the RTC will continue to provide access to essential services, but on a drastically modified schedule.