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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

‘It’s really frustrating’: B.C. Indigenous groups share impact of border closures

The closures have resulted in disputes between Indigenous groups and local businesses

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read