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

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

Smithers woman awarded $55K in RCMP excessive force suit

Irene Joseph alleged false arrest and assault and battery related to a 2014 incident in Smithers

Cannabis shop soon to open in Witset

Indigenous Bloom shop to be followed by cannabis cultivation facility in closed down sawmill

Celebrations continue for Tsilhqot’in Nation after court victory against Taskeo Mines Ltd.

Supreme Court of Canada upholds 2014 decision rejecting New Prosperity mine on May 14, 2020

Orphaned bear cub named after Snowbirds Capt. Jenn Casey to be cared for in Smithers

Neighbours assist in capture of Tappen Triplets now in care of Northern Lights Wildlife Society

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

Most Read