MP Anthony Housefather says government learning and adapting

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Housefather interviewed by Mike Cohen in new podcast

Click above to hear Mike Cohen’s podcast

Mike Cohen has posted his second episode after last week’s launch of his new podcast series. Focusing in on local personalities and issues the series began with an interesting interview with D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum.

Cohen’s years of professional journalism have transitioned smoothly into broadcast as his flair for asking interesting questions and connecting with the average citizen shine through.

Anthony Housefather, MP, in the Hall of Honour, Parliament of Canada (Nov. 13, 2015. GJ Nashen photo)

This week’s episode with Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather looks at the efforts of the local federal representative to parliament amid the Covid-19 crisis and measures enacted by the federal government.

Housefather has done a spectacular job of communicating with thousands of constituents on a daily basis with essential information on the pandemic from a local and national perspective. He provides government and resource information and links. His staff have been engaged with constituents round the clock and seven days a week since the outset.

You can listen in on Mike Cohen’s podcast and will soon be able to subscribe on your favourite podcast platform.

OQLF suspends French language requirements amid pandemic

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Quebec’s Tongue Troopers are making headlines again

In an ironic twist of fate, the much maligned language cops have determined that doctors and nurses don’t have to pass French test to work in Quebec during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What a relief during a period where we’ll grab on to anything that offers relief.

Did we need a crisis for such a sensible solution? When this is all over will we have so many extra medical personnel that language restrictions will make sense again?

We’re desperate for help so we’ll take what we can get. When we return to normal why not use the opportunity to modernize restrictive, coercive policies? How about positive and encouraging language guidelines and free French-language instruction for all?

Our global economy favours multilingualism over nationalism. Quebec is very well positioned economically, culturally, geographically and linguistically to rebound with gusto. It’s time for outdated language policies to be re-imagined in a post-Covid-19 Quebec.

Read more in MTL Blog.

Who’s your guardian angel?

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Quebec Premier Francois Legault has thanked “Guardian Angels” repeatedly during his daily press conferences. Emergency responders have paraded by local hospitals, sirens wailing, as a signal to the personnel inside, technicians, orderlies, nurses, doctors and auxiliary staff, that they are appreciated and honoured for their professional and personal efforts during these difficult days. Social media posts thank those working in long-term care facilities and rehab centres for caring for the elderly and the infirmed, restaurant staff for take-out and delivery and truckers and grocery store workers for keeping essential supplies flowing.

We all have our guardian angels. Mothers, fathers, neighbours, caregivers, friends and volunteers.

To be sure, these have not been easy days and weeks for many who are dealing with loneliness in their isolation, job layoffs, financial hardship, and health problems. Others are busy just trying to care for their families and dealing with emotions of physical isolation or boredom or lack of routine. And yet others, sadly, tragically, are grieving the loss of loved ones.

For my family, like many of you, we are trying to stay healthy of mind and body, positive in thought and good humoured.

Family online Shabbat Shalom

Yet we are concerned for our parents, 96 and 91 years of age, living independently at home, thankfully with a wonderfully dedicated caregiver. Daily check-in calls and video chats and tumultuous gatherings for the Passover Seders and welcoming Shabbat on Zoom and care packages lovingly left at the door by sisters-in-law, brothers and my wife provide comfort and relief and closeness in a less than completely satisfying way. They are happy and mostly healthy and for that we are thankful and anxious to be together, really together, soon.

Jeremy in class

Our kids are busy with online classes, music lessons, homework and studying, and friends by phone and video, Netflix parties and Tik-Tok and just hanging out together. Thank God they get along!

How to get through another day at the office from home and keep the family safe and fed and clean and sane? A concern facing us and millions of others.

How I enjoy our almost-daily walks (10,000 steps, my new record!) with my co-quarantined brother and kids along with a couple of neighbourhood friends – our family on one side of the road and theirs on the other – and playing outside with my son. How many menu items can we invent from our “Passover Pandemic Pantry” that we stocked to overflow weeks before anyone thought of hording toilet paper? And thankfully, there are wonderful friends that have delivered fresh produce as we have isolated ourselves for more than three weeks from the rest of the world.

Judy between deliveries, on call for Family Med OB-GYN at the Jewish

And most of all we miss our own Guardian Angel, my wife, Judy, who has lived apart from us for more than three weeks. As a physician at the Jewish General Hospital she has kept our family safe, like so many other doctors, by physically secluding herself from her children and husband. The risk of infection is too great, so Judy and so many of her colleagues in healthcare, have taken unprecedented steps to safeguard family while focusing their care on their patients. We all worry when they head in to the hospital and are relived to hear that they have returned home and feel just fine, other than exhausted.

We are so proud of her for her dedication to her patients and for the sacrifices and we pray that she remains safe, that all Guardian Angels remain in good health. We love and miss her and are anxious for this to pass and to be reunited as a family.

No, these are not easy days. But we are fortunate that this isn’t a man-made war. It’s not a natural disaster that will demolish homes. This isn’t civil strife or political upheaval. We are directed to stay home, to wash our hands and to stay apart from others. Who knew that something so simple could be so hard?

Thankfully, we all have our Guardian Angels watching over us and things will get better!

Suspending EMS service unprecedented since service began in early 1980s

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As a volunteer from the very first day in Cote Saint-Luc EMS, a crown jewel of local services that spurred me into a volunteer and political career that spanned nearly four decades, it is inconceivable that it is now closed in order to protect the health of its volunteers!

We faced uncertainty at EMS when the mega city of Montreal tried to gobble it into the new agglomeration-wide fire department in 2002. Yet we prevailed in keeping CSL EMS in local hands – a unique lifesaving service across the region and indeed throughout Quebec.

But today we face a different, unprecedented challenge. And drastic measures are necessary in very uncertain times.

EMS volunteers (Class of 2013)

Our CSL EMS volunteers are precious lifesavers but even these heroes have their limits. Without adequate training in handling patients with potential cases of COVID-19, nor essential personal protective equipment, it is far too risky to put our volunteers in harms way.

The temporary shuttering of CSL EMS is yet another reason to stay safe and to stay home. Seniors and the elderly in particular must avoid any risk to the greatest extent possible. While EMS has boasted very rapid response times, as little as 2-3 minutes in some cases, average ambulance response times hover closer to 10 minutes at best. And these are not the best of times.

I want to thank our incredible volunteers, EMS and vCOP, who have been sidelined by this horrific virus. You are our local heroes and you’ll all be back protecting our city very soon. Be well and stay safe.

Jewish General Hospital staff doing a spectacular, awesome job says Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg

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March 27, 2019 – CIUSSS West-Central President and CEO gives CTV News Montreal the latest update on COVID-19 patients and preparedness at the Jewish General Hospital.

Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg

Special COVID-19 Coverage on the Your Health Podcast

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How would you like to keep up to date on the most important COVID-19 news affecting CIUSSS West-Central Montreal… just 5 minutes at a time? 


Well, now you can.


At the office, at home, in the car or in the palm of your hand, our top experts in the field sound off from the front lines of the biggest pandemic of a generation on new special COVID-19 coverage of the Your Health Podcast.


“Our special coverage is hosted by Shaun McMahon, 20-year Montreal radio veteran and now, member of our creative, multi-platform communications team. In each episode, Shaun will dive into the many corners of CIUSSS West Central Montreal, in both English and French, to bring you the best stories. Stories of courage, dedication and hope,” says Glenn Nashen, Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations. “The podcast will also aim answer the many questions that continue to come to light as the pandemic morphs and evolves on a near-hourly basis.”


Distinguished guests over the first week of coverage have included Associate CEO Francine Dupuis, as well as Dr. Mark Karanofsky, Director Herzl Family Practice Centre and attending physician at Donald Berman Jewish Eldercare Centre, Dr. Suzanne Levitz, Associate Director of Professional Services and family physician at Mount Sinai Hospital and Luc Méthot of the Support Program for the Autonomy of Seniors (SAPA). 


No stone will be left unturned, as subjects and guests will span our network from GMFs and CLSCs to right inside the Jewish General Hospital, a Quebec-designated COVID-19 centre.


Episodes are uploaded and available NOW at ciussswestcentral.ca/covid19 and ciussswestcentral.ca/podcast, as well as all CIUSSS West-Central Montreal social media platforms (FacebookInstagram & LinkedIn) along with being available on your favourite podcast platform (including GoogleAppleSoundcloudSpotifyiHeartRadio and Castbox).

CSL State of Emergency aims to limit spread of virus

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Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein has been extremely active in putting into action decisive measures to mitigate risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. CSL has been an early actor to declare a State of Emergency and in shutting down municipal services and facilities. The mayor has been communicating on an urgent basis with residents through its mass calling system.

Leading a city is difficult enough during normal times. During a crisis this is especially true. I was deeply involved in every CSL disaster for the last 40 years and playing a leadership role as City Councillor for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Ice Storm, power failures, home fires, apartment evacuation and underpass floods. CSL has been a leader in emergency measures for decades and is known across the region for its outstanding emergency services and readiness plans.

Currently, I am neck deep (and at times over my head) heading up communication efforts for the West-Central Montreal health authority, which includes the Jewish General Hospital as well as CSL’s Mount Sinai Hospital Centre, Maimonides and CLSC Rene Cassin. My team has been in crisis response mode for almost two weeks. More on that in another post.

Our all-volunteer EMS is unique throughout Quebec offering a 24/7 rapid response to medical emergencies. These life-saving volunteers are deserving of praise on ordinary days. What they are facing now, in keeping us safe, is nothing short of heroic.

Our volunteer Citizens on Patrol provides an extra layer of protection across the community. These 90 volunteers give us a sense of comfort and peace of mind as they circulate up and down every street in our city, watching over us and our property and acting as an early warning system to police, fire, ambulance, Hydro Quebec, public works and more.

Out of abundant concern for its older volunteers, many of whom are over 70 years old, the city has decided to halt this service for an indefinite period. This policy is unfortunate as there are still plenty of younger volunteers ready to do what is necessary and others in the community prepared to offer their time and to be trained to help their community in patrolling with vCOP. Our residents need to see these brightly identified patrollers, especially during times of crisis.

Fortunately, Public Security continues its patrols with professional agents around the clock.

The ill-advised and poorly communicated merger of police stations should be shelved for this year. Our populations and its leaders are poised in another direction and this is not the time for structural reorganization.

Emergency communications is a vital lifeline to our residents. CSL has a superb outbound calling platform that it has begun using during this crisis. The latest call from Mayor Brownstein succinctly and accurately describes the severity of the situation ordering snowbirds to stay home for 14 days and religious communities not to congregate at this time.

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein warns seniors to “stay at home” on CBC National News

As well, the mayor’s continuous presence in local and national media and the city’s declaration of a State of Emergency (by video hook up of City Council) has helped to focus attention on crucial preparation procedures such as self-isolation and shuttering religious and retail facilities.

Beth Chabad Cote Saint-Luc shuttered, along with all religious other institutions

It will be vital to the overall health of each and everyone of us, those around us and all across the country to heed the warnings and to prepare. It’s not too late.

It's not too late to prepare

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Emergency preparedness has been in my DNA for decades. From the Ice Storm, power failures, home fires, apartment evacuation and underpass floods, I have been involved in every wide-scale emergency and disaster in Cote Saint-Luc since first joining the Emergency Measures Organization in 1979.

This gives me an interesting perspective on emergency preparedness given the COVID-19 pandemic facing us all.

Even though I am not involved in Cote Saint-Luc’s planning efforts this time, I have been neck deep (and at times over my head) during the past 10 days heading up communication efforts for the West-Central Montreal health authority, which includes the Jewish General Hospital as well as Cote Saint-Luc’s Mount Sinai Hospital Centre, Maimonides and CLSC Rene Cassin. More on that in another post.

We’re still early into the pandemic in Canada. The dire situation that we have watched unfolding in China, Italy and heading toward us over the past two months is an advanced warning. And it’s still not too late to prepare.

Premier Francois Legault is doing an excellent job communicating daily with Quebecers, together with Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda and Health Minister Danielle McCann

Fortunately for us in Quebec and throughout Canada, our political, healthcare and emergency preparedness leaders have taken this matter very seriously. So much so that many of us were lulled out of complacency and frightened into taking action (and needlessly panicking and emptying store shelves of toilet paper and other supplies).

Snowbirds started packing up early to get back to Canada. Travellers cancelled vacations. Crowds started diminishing as entertainment and sports venues began shutting down. Schools closed. Recreation centres, tourist centres and gathering points started shutting down. Entry to Canada to non-Canadians became sealed except for essential services.

We’ve learned new vocabulary in a matter of days. Social distancing. WFH (work from home). Flatten the curve. Sneeze into your sleeve or elbow.

Everything has changed overnight. And it’s not going back to what it was anytime soon. So what to do?

If you haven’t begun preparing, there’s no time like the present. No need to panic-shop since our supply chain is well intact. Having an adequate supply of non-perishable food, medicine and household goods is a basic necessity at the best of times. Now, it’s even more important as a result of quarantine or self-isolation (be it for reasons of illness, return from travel or as a precaution for your family).

It will be vital to the overall health of those around us and all across the country to heed the warnings and to prepare. It’s not too late.

What does "Flatten the curve" actually mean?

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This is an excellent, easy to understand 8 minute PBS episode explaining the epidemiology of the current coronavirus situation and why it is so crucial not to gather in groups. This is Must See TV!

As many as six COVID-19 cases in Côte-St-Luc, but mayor's quarantine request is denied

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Montreal’s chief public health officer, Dr. Mylène Drouin, said authorities must weigh the possible “collateral damage” of such a quarantine, which was deemed premature at this time.

AARON DERFEL, MONTREAL GAZETTE Updated: March 21, 2020

Coping in a Côte-St-Luc seniors’ residence in the age of coronavirus

Quebec authorities have dismissed imposing a quarantine on Côte-St-Luc — for now — after the west-end municipality reported as many as six cases of COVID-19 among residents at synagogues and an assisted-living facility.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province’s chief public health officer, said it was premature to do so despite a request from Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein.

“I think it (would) be dangerous for mayors to take that decision without being in touch with us,” Arruda told reporters in Quebec City.

“This is an exceptional situation. We have never had this in the world. This is not a decision that should be taken in a corner because I’m afraid or I don’t have all the information.”

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante supported Arruda’s position, arguing there are many factors to consider before using the last resort of a quarantine.

“For those who are not familiar, Côte-St-Luc is right in the middle of Montreal, so it’s surrounded by different boroughs,” Plante said at a news conference.

“I understand the mayor’s concern and I think he definitely wants to do the right thing, but for me it’s very important to follow the directive (of the public health department).”

Montreal’s chief public health officer, Dr. Mylène Drouin, explained experts must first analyze the extent of the outbreak in Côte-St-Luc before declaring a quarantine.

“I think at this time we cannot take those decisions without having a public health analysis,” Drouin said, adding authorities must weigh the possible “collateral damage” of such a quarantine.

In an interview late Friday afternoon, Brownstein reacted tepidly to the government’s decision not to proceed with a quarantine.

“We’re relying on the (health) ministry, Santé Québec,” Brownstein said. “We’re just putting them on notice that they should be watching Côte-St-Luc. I have other cases that are already coming forward, more and more every day, so I can see what’s going to happen in our city.”

Initially, Côte-St-Luc reported two points of exposure to the virulent coronavirus: the Beth Chabad synagogue on Kildare Rd., where a small wedding was held on March 12, and an assisted-living residence on Trent Ave., Le King David.

This is where the chronology gets complicated. A resident of Le King David tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a large wedding on March 12 at the Shaar Hashomayim synagogue in Westmount.

On Tuesday, the King David resident fell ill. In response, the operators of the private facility quarantined more than 100 residents. In addition, “several hundred people who attended the wedding (in Westmount have been) asked to go into isolation,” Drouin said.

On March 15, Shaar Hashomayim held another wedding, but this time it respected Premier François Legault’s March 12 order prohibiting gatherings of more than 250 people anywhere in the province to stem the spread of the virus.

On Thursday, the Beth Chabad synagogue posted an open letter on its Facebook page stating there were “a few cases in the Beth Chabad CSL who have tested positive (for) the coronavirus.” Côte-St-Luc was informed three Beth Chabad congregants were infected.

By Friday afternoon, Mitchell told the Montreal Gazette that “we have two more cases from different religious institutions. If they’re coming from places where people gather, it’s not a good thing.”

Those two other institutions are Côte-St-Luc synagogues.

“We’re asking Premier Legault to take steps to consider quarantining the entire city,” Brownstein said in the first of three interviews with the Gazette on Friday.

“Right now, we know that there are hundreds and hundreds of people who have been in contact with those who have been diagnosed, and we don’t want those people out in the public.

“They need to be contacted by Santé publique,” Brownstein added. “So we’re facilitating access to guest lists from a wedding, individuals who are members of Congregation Beth Chabad, and ensuring that (the authorities) have everything to reach all those individuals who should be in quarantine, although we’re advising everybody to stay home.”

On Friday night, Brownstein phoned the Gazette to clarify that the word “quarantine” was perhaps a little too strong. The mayor said he received calls from non-residents who feared they might be blocked from delivering food to parents or grandparents during a quarantine.

Instead, he called upon Quebec to “enforce staying at home, subject to certain conditions.”

Sarah Raskin, the wife of Rabbi Mendel Raskin of Congregation Beth Chabad, said the March 12 wedding at her synagogue was arranged through a caterer.

“It was quite a small wedding, actually,” Raskin said, although she couldn’t provide an exact number. “It was for out-of-town people.”

Raskin added she is aware of only one case of a congregant testing positive for COVID-19, contrary to the synagogue’s Facebook letter stating that there are “a few cases.”

On Tuesday, Côte-St-Luc declared a state of emergency, exercising its powers under the Civil Protection Act. The act allows a municipality to take “immediate action (that) is required to protect human life, health or physical integrity.”

Mitchell said Côte-St-Luc intends to order the closing of all stores, except pharmacies and those that sell groceries.

Lillian Horowitz, a 94-year-old resident of Le King David, is among more than 100 residents who have been in self-isolation.

“Our meals are brought up,” Horowitz said. “I’m not seeing anybody and I’m feeling fine. I’m taking it one moment at a time. I don’t want to panic.”

Horowitz praised the staff at Le King David, saying “everything was just done in an efficient, speedy manner. I was very impressed with how they treated it. The dining room was closed right away so nobody should be mingling with anybody, which was a good idea.”

On Friday morning, the Cavendish Mall posted a notice on its doors advising people the shopping centre “has been shut down.”

Still, people “can access the IGA, Pharmaprix and Bank of Nova Scotia from their front entrances. You can access the CLSC from the doors of the rear parking.”

Glenn J. Nashen, a spokesperson for the centre-west health authority in charge of the Jewish General, declined to comment on the status of the King David resident, saying by email that “I have no information on any specific patient.”

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Coronavirus: Montreal public health races to curb Côte-St-Luc outbreak

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“We have two more cases from different religious institutions,” Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said.

AARON DERFEL, MONTREAL GAZETTE Updated: March 20, 2020

Montreal public health officials are scrambling to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 in Côte-St-Luc while also monitoring hundreds of people across the city who may have been exposed to the highly contagious coronavirus.

“We expected an increase in the number of cases in the last few days, and that’s what we’re seeing,” Dr. Mylène Drouin told reporters at a news conference Friday as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 31 from 28 the day before.

Drouin cautioned that the number was likely to increase later on Friday as more test results rolled in. Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein told the Montreal Gazette that he has been informed his municipality now has four to six cases of COVID-19.

“We have two more cases from different religious institutions,” Brownstein said. “If they’re coming from places where people gather, it’s not a good thing.”

Drouin urged Montrealers to refrain from visiting houses of worship, warning they are “important vectors of transmission.”

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante also called upon people of all faiths to refrain from gathering.

“In the last few days, the city of Montreal has been in communication with different communities,” Plante said.

“The priests of Quebec have decided to close the churches. We have communicated with the council of imams of Quebec. The Hasidic Jewish community has decided to close their synagogues. Therefore, there is good co-operation, but there are still some exceptions, some recalcitrant people, who still want to gather. Whatever your faith, it is really important (to follow these rules).”

Drouin announced authorities will dramatically increase the number of COVID-19 screening tests. On Friday, the number of tests nearly doubled to 920 in Montreal, from 570 the day before.

“Of course, we’re seeing cases that are not linked to travellers,” Drouin explained, noting that the new cases are secondary transmissions — that is, people who contracted the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from family members or others.

“At this time, we cannot say that we have a sustained community transmission, but we’re expecting it,” Drouin added. On Thursday, Drouin acknowledged for the first time Montreal was reporting small COVID-19 outbreaks in families.

On Friday, she reiterated that “we have family groups that are affected by the situation, schools, student housing, one CHSLD (long-term care centre) and we had cases in a big event that was a wedding.”

It was not clear whether Drouin was alluding to a government-run long-term care centre or the private Le King David assisted-living facility in Côte-St-Luc. Drouin, however, was clear in referring to a wedding held last week at a synagogue.

“I know that there were two cases associated with the event, and we know that there were several hundred people who attended the wedding whom we asked to go into isolation.”

Drouin hinted at new measures, although she declined to elaborate.

“We’re going to take some measures in a couple of days to look at the epidemiological situation for the entire island of Montreal, and to see if there are some sectors, some measures, to take. But those cannot be taken at a local level. We have to make sure that we are aligned with the government.”

Workers put up a temporary wall as the Cavendish Mall is shut down for all businesses that do not have a private entrance on Friday, March 20, 2020. ALLEN MCINNIS / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Quebec’s chief public health officer, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said on Friday it was premature to declare a quarantine for the entire municipality of Côte-St-Luc at the request of the west-end mayor.

As much as possible, Drouin recommended, people should stay home. She cited hairdressers and shopping centres as examples of places people should avoid. On Thursday, she appealed to Montrealers to shop for groceries only once a week.

The health department is foreseeing the possibility of expanding COVID-19 testing to health workers following reports that infected doctors have treated patients.

“Health-care workers will be a priority coming soon,” Drouin said. “I’ve always said that if we do not protect them, we will have problems in two or three weeks.”

Should the pandemic grow much worse in Montreal, authorities would consider using hotel rooms to house some people infected with the coronavirus.

“We’re looking at different possibilities of isolating some people who cannot be at home or we do not want them necessarily in hospital,” Drouin said. “In specific cases, we could use hotels. Of course we have to negotiate (with them) and see what the measures are to put in place to ensure the protection of people who work there or who use the services of hotels. This is something we see in other countries and we do not exclude it.”

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CSL outbreak concerns featured on CBC National News

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CBC National, March 20, 2020

Several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Côte Saint-Luc

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MONTREAL — A person from Le King David assisted-living building at 5555 Trent Ave. has tested positive for COVID-19, the City of Côte Saint-Luc confirmed after receiving information from public health authorities Thursday.

The person was transported to the Jewish General Hospital for testing on March 17.

“Public health has intervened quickly to help reduce the impact and the spread,” the city notes. “This involves an investigation into the places the individual travelled outside and their interactions inside the assisted living building.”

City officials add they are not involved in any investigation related to COVID-19.

“We cannot intervene, as it is in the hands of Quebec health authorities,” they explain.

SEVERAL CASES AT A SYNAGOGUE

Several members of the Congregation Beth Chabad have also tested positive for COVID-19, the synagogue confirmed Thursday in a message to members.

“We ask you to stay calm, yet vigilant,” states a message from Rabbi Mendel and Sarah Raskin, adding anyone who has been to the synagogue since Shabbat on March 14 should quarantine themselves for the next 14 days. “Those people that were tested positive have frequented the Beth Chabad CSL and have already been in quarantine since Monday evening.”

The synagogue will remain closed until further notice.

“We are a community of love, care and friendship. We will get through this together,” the message continues.

STAY INFORMED, STAY APART

Côte Saint-Luc officials are commending residents who have been practicing social distancing and doing their part to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Like all cities, we have been expecting this day,” they state, adding anyone who is not yet social distancing or self-isolating to “immediately put into place all the recommendations of the Quebec health authorities.”

The city is also asking anyone coming back from vacation to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Everyone else should avoid gatherings of any kind. If you are over 70, stay home,” officials urge. “Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Please avoid any non-essential outings at this time.”

Nevertheless, the city says it is important to keep in contact with friends and family and “find activities that bring us joy in this stressful time.”

“The actions you take in the days and weeks to come will have a huge impact on how our community is affected,” they note. “Your behaviour could save a life.”

For more information about what Côte Saint-Luc is doing to stop the spread of COVID-19, go to their website

Anyone concerned about their health or who have symptoms associated with COVID-19 — coughing, fever and difficulty breathing — should call the Info-Coronavirus phone line at 1-877-644-4545.

Congregation Beth Chabad

An image of the Congregation Beth Chabad. (Credit: Congregation Beth Chabad)

CSL announces first confirmed case of COVID-19

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https://cotesaintluc.org/announcements/statement-regarding-the-first-confirmed-case-of-covid-19-in-cote-saint-luc/

March 19, 2019 – The City of Côte Saint-Luc received information from public health authorities on Thursday, March 19 that a patient was transported on Tuesday, March 17 from Le King David assisted living building at 5555 Trent Ave. to the Jewish General Hospital, where the patient was confirmed positive for COVID-19.

Santé Publique has intervened quickly to help reduce the impact and the spread. This involves an investigation into the places the individual travelled outside and their interactions inside the assisted living building. The City of Côte Saint-Luc is not involved in this or any other investigations related to COVID-19. We cannot intervene, as it is in the hands of Quebec health authorities. 

On the evening of Thursday, March 19, we were also made aware of a letter posted online from Congregation Beth Chabad stating that several members had tested positive for COVID-19. We don’t know any more details yet but expect to receive information from health authorities.

Like all cities, we have been expecting this day. For residents who have been practicing social distancing, and doing all you could to prevent the virus from spreading, we commend you. Please continue. For those who have not, it is critical that you immediately put into place all the recommendations of the Quebec health authorities government. If you are back from vacation, you must self-isolate for 14 days. Everyone else should avoid gatherings or any kind. If you are over 70, stay home. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Please avoid any non-essential outings (eg, hairdressers, nail salons, clothing shops, etc.) at this time.

The actions you take in the days and weeks to come will have a huge impact on how our community is affected. Your behaviour could save a life. 

But even as we do all this to stay safe, we must also remember to call our friends and family, and find activities that bring us joy in this stressful time. 

The list of ongoing city actions is available at CoteSaintLuc.org/Coronavirus.

COVID-19: Côte Saint-Luc activates state-of-emergency power to help stop mass gatherings

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The City Council of Côte Saint-Luc declared a state of emergency effective today at 3:30pm, which is a power granted to cities under the Civil Protection Act.

The Act states that: “A local municipality may declare a state of emergency in all or part of its territory where, in an actual or imminent major disaster situation, immediate action is required to protect human life, health or physical integrity which, in its opinion, it is unable to take within the scope of its normal operating rules or of any applicable emergency preparedness plan.”

This state of emergency is coming into effect based on Cote Saint Luc’s special demographics including having the highest percentage of seniors in the province, many snowbirds returning from abroad, more places of worship than any city of our size and numerous hospitals and senior residences that need our protection.

The City is taking this step to limit the number of social and religious public gatherings to a maximum of 10 persons and as such, the City is asking Public Health Authorities and the Montreal police department (SPVM) to enforce this rule on its local territory. 

The top priority of a city is the health of its population. 

The state of emergency will allow Côte Saint-Luc to ask Public Health Authorities to use their powers to stop all events and gatherings of more than 10 people with the assistance of the SPVM. The state of emergency will last for a 5-day period and can be renewed should the Quebec Ministry of Public Security so authorize. 

We understand that in the coming three weeks, there are many weddings and celebrations planned before the onset of Passover followed by the seven weeks of the Omer, where weddings and celebrations cannot take place according to the Jewish tradition. While we understand that people have made plans and invited guests, we cannot take the risk of allowing large gatherings in our community at this time. We are confident that the residents will understand and support this effort.

Resolution to declare a local state of emergency due to COVID-19 in the territory of Côte Saint-Luc (PDF)

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