Pandemic reports about friends and family in Canada

Check out the analysis about Northern New England and our Canadian neighbors posted in a social media message by Dr. Dora Mills, who works at Maine Health, in Portland, ME, and who has given her permission to share this information titled “Not-So-Brief COVID-19 Update: Together, Stamping Out the Fires”.

To view her entire document, visit the TinyUrl link to document here

Quebec Premiere François Legault

Coronavirus does not respect borders between Northern New England States and Canada- the Quebec Premiere François Legault recommends wearing a protective face mask.

This blog is a follow up to another one I published several weeks ago about the Canadian border closing with Maine. At that time, I reported about how some families were responding to the closing of the Maine border with Quebec and New Brunswick, as a public health effort to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19). In the Maine media, regular reports about how our Canadian neighbors have been impacted by this pandemic are not regularly reported, but we do know, with certainly, that the virus has “zero” respect for any borders. Since published (link here), I received two messages about how the coronavirus is impacting Maine and our Canadian neighbors, in Quebec, and New Brunswick. One excellent and thorough report was posted on social media by Dr. Dora Mills, who wrote an analysis about the coronavirus data as reported on May 3, 2020, in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

A second message came Alfreda Fournier, a colleague who serves on the Franco-American Collection Board, in Lewiston.

A virus does not respect boundaries, so closing the border in Canada and enforcing restricted travel, even within the provinces, will help to reduce the risk of tourists carrying the virus across the international borders, going both north and south, at least for now.

Dr. Mills reported:  Although Maine’s border with Quebec and New Brunswick has been closed since the U.S. – Canada border closed March 21st, and is expected to remain closed until at least mid-late May, there is some essential travel between the two countries. Interestingly, non-essential travel within Canada has been restricted, including between provinces such as between Quebec and New Brunswick as well as between some regions within provinces. This has been enforced by checkpoints. (This is not an option that is felt to be allowed in the U.S. under these circumstances, which is why no state has done it.) These travel restrictions may explain some of the factors contributing to lower impact of COVID-19 in Canada.

There is also a 14-day quarantine mandate for those who must enter a province. And, the Canadian government’s website specifically states this quarantine also applies to snowbirds arriving home for the summer. Non-residential cottage owners are not allowed to travel to their seasonal homes in Quebec and the Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island). Schools and non-essential businesses have been closed, and those without pay across Canada have been given $2,000 per month income by the government.

A second message is from Alfreda Fournier, a Board member who serves on the Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College (USM LAC).  “I’ve been watching TV every day at 2pm and, must say, I have total faith in and respect for Governor Janet Mills, Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and their very difficult job. My conversation with my Moncton, New Brunswick relatives reveals they are participating as part of the solution…Can you believe that in some categories Moncton has zero cases????”  She posted two graphs published in New Brunswick on her social media page to demonstrate the correlation between the numbers of coronavirus infections reported and the testing to determine the diagnosis. In other words, the April 28 reports correlated the testing and travel restrictions in New Brunswick that appears to have reduced the spread of the coronavirus.

Canadian coronavirus

Coroanvirus map published in a British Columbia newspaper in February 2020, showed the risk to Canada was expected to be somewhat lower than in other areas of the world.

Additionally, Quebec Premier Francois Legault – wearing what he said was a handmade mask that was given to him – said he “strongly recommends” that Quebecers wear face masks when they are out in public.  “A good way to greatly reduce the contagion is to wear a mask,” Legault said. “We strongly recommend that you do so.”  Story link here.

Cananda’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the current talks underway to extend the Canada-U.S. border restrictions prohibiting all non-essential travel across the border for another month are “going well,” and now’s not the time to talk about terms of loosening the cross-border shutdown.

Last month, Canada and the United States agreed to extend the closure for at least another month. That agreement is set to expire on May 21.

Juliana L'Heureux

About Juliana L'Heureux

Juliana L’Heureux is a free lance writer who publishes news, blogs and articles about Franco-Americans and the French culture. She has written about the culture in weekly and bi-weekly articles, for the past 27 years.