Inquest into Quebec long-term care deaths during pandemic’s first wave to resume

Inquest into Quebec long-term care deaths during pandemic’s first wave to resume

MONTREAL — A Quebec coroner’s inquest into deaths in long-term care homes during the pandemic’s first wave enters its final stage today, resuming after a month-long pause.

Almost 4,000 people died in the homes, known in Quebec as CHSLDs, between February and June 2020, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of the deaths reported in the province during the first wave.

The provincial coroner’s office called for an inquest examining the deaths of elderly and vulnerable people in seven residential settings during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the government response to the outbreaks.

Hearings are resuming this week with testimony from two Health Department officials and Seniors Minister Marguerite Blais.

Blais, whose appearance was put off in November due to health problems, is set to testify on Thursday.

Led by coroner Géhane Kamel, the investigation is limited to events that took place between March 12 and May 1, at the height of the crisis in 2020. Kamel will also be hearing final observations from Jan. 17 to Jan. 21.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 10, 2022.

The Canadian Press