Montreal ‘flirting’ with orange but not out of COVID-19 red zone yet: public health


Montreal has staved off the worst of the third COVID-19 wave and is on the “right track” but the city is not out of the red zone yet, according to the the director of the public health department.

Mylène Drouin told reporters Wednesday that the plan to aggressively screen and isolate emerging cases has paid off to keep variants of the virus as bay. Yet, she also urged people to stay vigilant as restrictions ease and sectors reopen in the coming weeks.

“The pandemic is not over,” she said. “We still have a bit of a way to go.”

The seven-day rolling average shows that there are about 215 new infections reported each day. Cases are dropping, but Drouin said testing is significantly low in the past few days — probably due to the long holiday weekend.

READ MORE: Montreal, Laval to stay as COVID-19 red zones as Quebec begins to reopen

As a result, she said the city is hovering between its current red-zone designation and the lower orange level on Quebec’s colour-coded pandemic system.

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“We are flirting with the orange zone,” she said.

Drouin’s comments come one day after the province announced Montreal and neighbouring Laval will remain on maximum alert until at least June 7. But the nightly curfew will be lifted and outdoor dining spaces can reopen as planned starting this Friday.

“If it’s not (June) 7th then it will be soon,” she said about being downgraded to orange.

The positivity rate in the city stands around three per cent, she said. But some neighbourhoods are hit harder than others, including Parc-Extension and Bordeaux-Cartierville.

Meanwhile, there are currently 216 outbreaks in Montreal. Where public health authorities are seeing a small increase in outbreaks is in communities.

READ MORE: Quebec kids 12 and older can now book to get their COVID-19 vaccine shot

Nine of 16 outbreaks are associated with parks — and Drouin urged city dwellers to abide by physical distancing measures and not to share food, glasses and cigarettes. The risk of spreading COVID-19 is not as high outdoors, but caution is still needed, she said.

A single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t mean full protection either, she added.

“Not all of the population is immune,” she said.

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There is also a rise in cases among young adults who are between the ages of 18 and 24, she added. Anyone who has symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus should go get tested.

Click to play video: 'Legault says Montreal, Laval to stay as COVID-19 red zones until at least June 7'

Legault says Montreal, Laval to stay as COVID-19 red zones until at least June 7

Legault says Montreal, Laval to stay as COVID-19 red zones until at least June 7

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