In Quebec, The Battle Against COVID-19 Shifts to Workplaces

The coronavirus began showing up among day-shift workers on Olymel’s butchering floor in Vallee-Jonction, 70 kilometres south of Quebec City, around Thanksgiving. 

By last Saturday, the initial trickle had become a fast-moving current. The company quickly arranged a testing blitz for 160 employees. By Wednesday night, union officials said, at least 60 had tested positive. 

As the second COVID-19 wave gathers force in Quebec, just under half the active outbreaks in the province have been traced back to workplaces: factories, construction sites, kitchens, hospitals, and the like. 

The provincial public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said on Thursday 46 percent of all outbreaks involve a workplace. He also pointed out that, in most cases, the number of people affected is small, typically fewer than five. 

Premier Francois Legault knows the strict health measures could be the death knell for many restaurants, whose dining rooms have been closed all month, and that they’ve made him unpopular with the industry. 

Plante unveiled a new plan to attract shoppers and kickstart her city’s beleaguered downtown. A few hours later, Legault said this: “it’s health first, then the rest comes after.”. For good measure, he said “all those who can work from home must work from home. I know that the Montreal Chamber of Commerce isn’t going to like hearing me say that…. But what I’m telling you is we need even more people to work from home.”

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