Quebec Standard

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Quebec coroner hits region for a reply to 1st wave demises 

Quebec

Key takeaways: 

  • Coroner Géhane Kamel issues the last report after hearing from hundreds of witnesses.
  • Quebec Coroner Géhane Kamel heard testimony from government officials, health board administrators, long-term care staff, and household members. 

The absence of independence given to Quebec’s public health director may have restricted the government’s answer at the start of the outbreak, as hundreds were dying in long-term care homes across the region.

Coroner Géhane Kamel issued a report following months of investigation into deaths in seniors’ homes, where the pandemic killed almost 5,000 in the spring of 2020. 

After hearing affidavits from 220 government officials, long-term care home workers, and the loved ones of people who died, Kamel gave 23 offers targeting the regional government, its Health Ministry, local health boards, and the Quebec College of Physicians. 

One of the report’s first pieces of advice asks for the government to rethink the position of its public health director so that whoever is in the place can exert their operations “without political conditions.”

Also read: Several communities are on flood watch in Quebec’s Saguenay area

The absence of independence given to Quebec’s public health director may have restricted the government’s answer at the start of the outbreak

The public health director in Quebec is also an assistant health minister, but Kamel noted that the two roles “are different and may not be compatible.”

Kamel illustrated that masks were not compulsory in CHSLDs (Centre d’hébergement de soins de Longue durée) at the start of the pandemic. 

“Would his guidance have been the same had he not had to be concerned about possible stock shortages? I care to think not. Hence, the risk of wearing two hats,” Kamel wrote in the report, read online.

At the time, Dr. Horacio Arruda had the position. He left at the end of 2021 and was substituted by Dr. Luc Boileau as interim director. Before that, Boileau was the head of the region’s institute of public health (INSPQ). 

Source – cbc.ca

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