We have all been shaken by the impact of COVID-19 and its disproportionate effect on Montreal seniors. Of more than 4,900 deaths reported, almost 3,700 were in Montreal and Laval, and more than nine in ten of these were 70 and over.
Our institutions, especially long-term care homes, and the provincial bureaucracy we have entrusted with ensuring its residents are protected have failed us. Multiple inquiries are planned to look at where our society and institutions have not fulfilled basic expectations and how they can do better. In that regard, we applaud the CAQ government for an important initiative in seeking to fill 10,000 positions in CHSLDs as orderlies and assistants.
The offer of $760 a week for three months of training and full-time jobs at $49,000 a year plus benefits for those who qualify is a good start.
In anticipation of a second wave of the pandemic, each of us must continue to be vigilant and protect ourselves and those around us. We must not be seduced by the good weather and the desire to make up for three months of confinement by returning to normal.
As seniors, what we have been doing, and not doing, is part of the new normal. We must wear masks in public. We must vigorously and frequently wash our hands. We must stay two meters away from others. We must limit the size of any gathering and keep our distance. As all the experts have been saying, every pandemic in recorded history has been followed by a second wave. Let’s do our best to avoid getting caught in its web.