Quebec to collect data on race and economic status of patients with COVID-19, according to director of public health



MONTREAL – Community groups in Quebec have called on Quebec to collect race-based data on patients with COVID-19, and the province said on Wednesday it would do so.

Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s national director of public health, told reporters on Wednesday that the province does intend to compile such data.

“Yes, this information will be collected,” Arruda said during the province’s daily COVID-19 briefing in Quebec, noting that the data could be useful “especially if (there are) risk factors in certain communities that could be related to genetics. “

Arruda did not provide specific details, but told reporters he would review demographic details the province will collect.

Groups such as the Montreal-based Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), have said that data that includes factors such as the race and economic status of COVID-19 patients is essential to understanding the spread of the disease. viruses, especially in the poorest. and more ethnically diverse boroughs like Montreal North, which has become the hardest hit in the city in recent weeks.

“This is a most encouraging development for public health in Montreal and Quebec,” CRARR Director General Fo Niemi said on Wednesday. negative impact of COVID-19 access to reliable data to assess needs and develop better adapted care, support and prevention programs.

“This data will be part of the science we need to fight COVID-19. “

CRARR launched a public appeal last week, supported by several academics, politicians and other activists, for more detailed data on COVID-19 patients.

“We are concerned about the high rate of infection in these areas, but the existing data only focuses on age and gender,” Niemi said last week. “There are no indicators based on race, language and income status to allow more precise measurements of COVID-19 infection and death in a city as diverse as Montreal.”

Toronto started collecting race-based data in April, and Niemi noted that collection of such data is already happening in the US and UK as well. Ontario’s chief medical officer Dr David Williams said on Wednesday that his province would soon begin collecting socio-economic and race-based data.


Quebec Deputy Premier Genevi̬ve Guilbault Рreplacing Premier Fran̤ois Legault on Wednesday Рannounced that the province will spend an additional $ 31 million to help Quebecers with their mental health during the pandemic.

The additional money will be used to increase the services offered by the Info-Social 811 helpline, to provide better access to psychosocial and mental health services in a timely manner to anyone who needs them, and to recruit psychologists and psychologists. private therapists to provide social services and psychological counseling, said Health Minister Danielle McCann.

“With the pandemic, we are very concerned about our physical health, but it must not come at the expense of our mental health,” Guilbault said. “I want to take this opportunity to tell people living with mental health issues not to hesitate to consult. We must not choose between virus and distress. You have to face both at the same time.


Guilbault has also sought to reassure people aged 60 to 69 that it is safe to return to work in daycares and schools when they reopen next week.

Premier François Legault and other provincial authorities had previously warned people over 60 that they were at greater risk of complications from COVID-19.

But Guilbault said Wednesday that public health authorities are now advising that it is people over 70 who are at greater risk of complications from the new coronavirus.

Provincial statistics show that 8% of people who died from COVID-19 in the province were between the ages of 50 and 69.

Guilbault says she knows there are older teachers and educators across the province worried about returning to work, but says they will be safe if they and their students follow health guidelines.


Guilbault said some prisoners in Quebec prisons – some of whom have seen outbreaks of COVID-19 among inmates and staff – could be medically released.

She said inmates who are approved for medical release, who have not committed a violent crime and who have less than 30 days to serve will be released from provincial jails.

“It should be noted that such authorization for medical reasons already exists in our system, a measure which is also applied in other provinces of Canada,” said Guilbault. “It will reduce the number of inmates and therefore help our correctional officers to enforce the rules of physical distancing.” “

“We have a duty to protect our correctional officers and our inmates,” added Guilbault.


There are now 2,510 people who have died from COVID-19 in Quebec, health officials said on Wednesday, as confirmed cases in the province reached 34,327.

That’s 112 more than the 2,398 deaths reported Tuesday; The cases of COVID-19 in Quebec increased by 910 compared to the 33,417 announced the day before.

As of Wednesday, 1,840 people were being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals in Quebec, up 19 from the 1,821 reported on Tuesday. Of those hospitalized, 213 are in intensive care, five fewer than the 218 reported 24 hours earlier.

On Wednesday, 1,240 people are awaiting the results of the COVID-19 test in Quebec, up 526 from the 714 reported Tuesday.

The number of people in Quebec who recovered from COVID-19 on Wednesday was 8,284, up 361 from the 7,923 recoveries reported the day before.

With 17,442 cases, Montreal remains the region of the province hardest hit by COVID-19; you can see a regional distribution of COVID-19 in Quebec here.

– The Canadian Press contributed to this report.



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