---Handful of Aylmer shops and cafés closed, mobile testing unit set up at Deux-Ruisseaux elementary school, all due to outbreaks
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Outaouais since the start of the pandemic reached 6,647 on March 15, marking a rise of 19 cases from the previous day. According to the Centre intégré de la santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO), there were 204 active COVID-19 cases in the region at that time.
With 167 deaths in the region so far – two more than last week – it noted that 6,276 people had recovered from the virus. Nine people were hospitalized last week with one requiring intensive care, adding that 33 of CISSSO’s employees were actively infected. Over the previous week, CISSSO stated to have administered an average of 534 COVID-19 screening tests per day. CISSSO said that Gatineau’s urban core has accounted for the majority of coronavirus cases in the region at this point with 4,947 cumulative cases and 176 active ones.
The MRC de Papineau has had 787 total cases, with nine active cases; the MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau has had 439 with five or less active cases; the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais has recorded 383 cases with five or less active ones; and the MRC de Pontiac has seen 82 total cases, with seven active ones. The origin of nine cases has yet to be determined.
Asked for Aylmer’s specific numbers, CISSSO’s interim public health director Brigitte Pinard explained that COVID-19 statistics are only monitored by municipality and not by sector.
Since the start of the pandemic, dozens of CISSSO’s health care facilities have experienced outbreaks. That includes the CHSLD de la Lionel-Émond in Gatineau that has recorded 110 total cases, with 24 deaths, 19 active cases, and 67 people recovered. The RPA Chartwell Monastère d’Aylmer has accounted for 26 total cases, two deaths, and 24 people recovered, and Résidence la Gappe with 89 total cases, 14 deaths, and 70 people recovered.
On March 11, Café Mulligan temporarily shut down after learning that one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19, and that its entire staff would get tested to ensure everyone’s safety.
On March 12, the British Hotel temporarily shut down its establishments – restaurant, pub and café - after learning that one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. It added that all its staff members would be tested and that it hired a cleaning company to completely sanitize its buildings.
On March 15, the Centre de services scolaires des Portages-de-l’Outaouais (CSSPO) told the Aylmer Bulletin that it had reported 209 cumulative COVID-19 cases in its establishments since the start of the pandemic.
With cases rising at a rapid rate in recent days, Quebec minister of Family and Minister responsible for the Outaouais, Mathieu Lacombe said the situation is very worrisome in the region. “We need to act fast if we don’t want it to be too late,” he said, pointing to the outbreaks at the British and at the CHSLD Lionel-Émond. “It shows how the situation is very fragile.”
Seeing COVID-19 related hospitalizations double in recent days, CISSSO’s President and Director General Josée Filion also emphasized the severity of the situation. But, with the vaccine rollout going well, it’s reasonable to be optimistic for the future, Lacombe said.
Lacombe also saluted the contributions of frontline workers throughout the pandemic, and called on the population to continue supporting them. “We need to be extremely prudent,” Lacombe said. “We need to reduce the number of cases per day and the number of outbreaks.” Pinard urged people to follow public health safety measures, especially social distancing, wearing a mask and avoiding unnecessary travel.
More information on CSSPO COVD-19 cases in available via the following link - https://www.csspo.gouv.qc.ca/covid-19-cas-confirmes-dans-nos-etablissements-scolaires/.
More COVID-19 related information regarding the Outaouais is available on CISSSO’s website - https://cisss-outaouais.gouv.qc.ca/covid-19/.
People wanting to get tested for COVID-19 are encouraged to consult CISSSO’s online self-assessment tool before calling 1-877-644-4545 to set up an appointment within 24 hours.