Danielle McCann insists she warned CHSLDs to prepare for pandemic

On the bench over whether Quebec sufficiently warned CHSLDs about COVID-19, the former health minister says it raised red flags.

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QUEBEC – Former health minister Danielle McCann insisted on Wednesday that she alerted Quebec’s long-term care homes (CHSLD) to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic.


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A day after the Quebec ombudsman issued a scathing report on the 2020 pandemic saying that the CHSLD network was the government’s “blind spot” in the crisis and no one warned them to prepare, McCann called the media to that could explain his actions.

“What is being said about me worries me,” McCann said. “I am here to correct the facts.”

She posted a copy of a letter, dated January 28, in which Martin Simard, deputy director general for public safety, advises regional health authorities to prepare their facilities for the pandemic.

“It’s a question of integrity,” McCann said defensively. “When I went to the coroner, I related the facts to him, that’s what I wanted to correct today.

“I am extremely sensitive to what happened. I am very sorry for the families and I will live with that for the rest of my life. “


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She insisted that the emergency measures mentioned in the letter, which does not specifically say that older people are more vulnerable to the virus, are enough to sound the alarm.

“We did it, we did it,” he insisted when pressed about his warnings. “These are crisis measures that we develop. All the work that was done on a daily basis to prepare the system… we had all the red flags.

“This is a letter that tells the establishment, these are emergency measures, get ready.”

In her report, ombudsman Marie Rinfret said she could find no trace of any advice to government CHSLDs beyond vague guidelines about the need to prepare for the virus.

He said the government had a “hospital-centric” approach to the pandemic and was more concerned about them being overloaded with COVID-19 patients, as had happened in Italy. That explains why he ordered hundreds of patients to be transferred from hospitals to CHSLDs, underestimating how dysfunctional they were.


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The report left opposition parties insane, repeating their calls for a full public inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic.

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