Military to help fight COVID in Quebec; deaths pass 150 as cases near 12,000

Canada’s death rate stands at about one per cent of those who’ve tested coronavirus positive

The military is moving into northern Quebec at the province’s request to help remote communities cope in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday as political and health leaders urged Canadians to avoid leaving home unless necessary.

Latest figures indicate close to 12,000 Canadians have contracted the virus. Of those, 152 have died, but the numbers could be much higher given gaps in reporting methods.

Trudeau has said national modelling would come soon but required more data from provincial and territorial governments.

In an interview late Thursday with The Canadian Press, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said her estimate from three weeks ago that between 30 per cent and 70 per cent of Canadians will likely become infected hasn’t changed.

“Having 70 per cent of people get COVID is not the end of the world,” Hajdu said. “It is, though, if it all happens at once and that’s what we’re trying to prevent.”

At the moment, Canada’s death rate stands at about one per cent of those who’ve tested coronavirus positive.

Experts say the flu-like illness poses a threat to the elderly and those with compromised health. The best way to curb the spread and ease the burden on an already stressed health-care system is to wash hands frequently and stay at least two metres away from others. Hospitals have reported shortages of personal protective gear for medical staff, while front-line doctors fret about having to choose who lives and who dies owing to potential shortages of crucial ventilators.

In tribute to health-care personnel, all ships in B.C. waters will sound their horns at 7 p.m. local time. Toronto’s CN Tower has been lighting up blue in a similar show of solidarity, while people in other places have taken to banging on pots or pans to show their support.

The pandemic — in particular the stay-at-home measures implemented to try to mitigate its spread — has taken a brutal toll on the economy and jobs.

Trudeau said the government would provide additional aid to low-income people through the GST credit this month rather than next. Qualifying adults will receive up to $300, plus $150 for each child.

To help cushion the financial blow, the country’s six largest banks have deferred more than 10 per cent of the mortgages in their portfolios for up to six months.

The Canadian Bankers Association banks had received almost 500,000 requests for deferrals or to skip a payment. However, interest on the deferred payments is expected to accrue during the deferral phase, meaning consumers will eventually have to cover the amount.

Globally, the pandemic has now infected more than one million people and killed close to 55,000, according to latest official tracking figures. China, where the virus is believed to have originated, has gradually been seeing life return to normal after draconian lockdown measures curbed the spread.

Italy, with almost 14,000 deaths and Spain with about 11,000, have been hit hardest. The United States, however, leads the world in cases — a quarter of a million to date — and has reported more than 6,000 deaths.

– with files from Joan Bryden in Ottawa and other Canadian Press reporters across the country

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Potential for gravel removal this summer in Chilliwack has riled river stewards

Group says no ‘discernible merit’ for gravel mining when balanced off with the environmental damage

Drug-pricing petition garners thousands of signatures

Petition started by Chilliwack mom also drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Ken Monkhouse, ‘Monkey’ on Highway Thru Hell TV show, passes away

Monkhouse passed away Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Harrison Hot Springs Resort eases in to reopening

Reservations available Friday, May 29

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Officials looking for answers after Abbotsford football star found dead in Sask. lake

Saskatchewan Health Authority looking into circumstances surrounding Samwel Uko’s hospital visit

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

Most Read