Projections show COVID-19 deaths in Montreal could soar if confinement lifted

A cyclist and her daughter have most of Laurier Ave. in Montreal to themselves for a ride

A cyclist and her daughter have most of Laurier Ave. in Montreal to themselves for a ride

The projections suggest that far from improving, the situation in Montreal could rapidly deteriorate unless strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain in place.

As Quebec begins to reopen schools and businesses, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed concerns about the province's deconfinement plans, particularly in Montreal.

If restrictions are lifted, "it is still hard to determine the trajectory of the epidemic" in Greater Montreal, according to Quebec's public health institute, which worked with experts from Laval University to produce the projections.

The institute, which worked with experts from Université Laval, says new cases could soar to 10,000 a day by June amid a potential "rapid increase" in hospitalizations. Excludes seniors' care homes.

Canada's coronavirus case count climbed past 67,000 on Saturday, with Quebecers making up more than half of the total cases. Montreal's public health director, Mylene Drouin, said two city buses have been retrofitted into mobile testing units to reach people who can't get to clinics and immigrant communities "where language is a barrier".

"I understand the economic pressures we're all under and I understand people do want to go outside. We are not even fully into the restarting phase yet".

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Students will spend the majority of the school day at their desks while school officials continue to keep up with cleaning and disinfecting the common areas in order to meet public health guidelines.

Quebec will be the first province to reopen schools and has faced some backlash on its decision to move ahead before other provinces, considering it has the highest amount of active COVID-19 cases of any other provinces.

Libraries, gyms and cafeterias will be closed, while some schools have prepared videos that warn parents and kids to expect to see floors marked with taped indicators of where to stand and teachers donning goggles, masks and gloves.

Premier Legault feels that due to the low risk that young people face with contracting and spreading COVID-19, students will benefit from continuing with their education.

Legault has said it's better to reopen things gradually than all at once, saying, "Life needs to continue".

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