Containment: loose questions (2)

The fine methods of confinement seem to have created some confusion among the population, judging by the large volume of questions we receive on this subject. If parents have COVID-19, who should take care of their children? What if a move had been planned before the pandemic? Does the 2 meter rule apply when taking the bus? Can seniors living in residence eat their meals in the cafeteria? Here are some details.
Q: “We have to move to Estrie soon. We were relieved to find that the movers are an essential service as well as the notaries. The company says its movers will be checked, they will wear gloves, etc. As for us, we have to fill out a questionnaire on our state of health. However, we wonder about what to do when we arrive in our new home, ”asks Roch Lessard, from Quebec.

A: The National Institute of Public Health (INSPQ) recommends postponing any non-essential move, if it can be done. In addition, people in mandatory confinement – with COVID-19, waiting for their test results, showing symptoms (cough, fever, sneezing, etc.) or returning from travel – should delay their move and be refrain from helping someone else move.

If the move cannot be postponed, then the main risk is direct transmission from one person to another, continues the INSPQ. Therefore, as far as possible, avoid close contact. We must also limit the number of people involved in the move – do not ask neighbors or friends to help us.

COVID-19 does not survive long outside the human body, so the risk of transmission from surfaces or objects is very low. But it is not zero either, so once there, the INSPQ recommends disinfecting the housing, with particular attention to the surfaces that are often touched (handles, ramps, taps, switches, etc.) , clean the household appliances well and wait 24 hours before opening the “non-essential” boxes. This delay will kill much, if not all, of the viruses that might be inside.

Q: “I work in the health sector and have to take the bus to get there. Can I transmit COVID-19 with my clothes, like my work pants? ” asks Louise Morin of Sherbrooke.

A: These are essentially the same safety instructions as elsewhere that apply to public transportation: cough / sneeze in your elbow, keep 2 meters away from others, etc. Once you get off the bus, ideally, wash your hands as soon as possible.

The virus does not spread well through surfaces, even if the risk is not zero – and that goes for clothes too. Obviously, if the health facility in which we work has issued instructions regarding service clothing, we must comply with them.

Q: “If parents have COVID-19, who should care for the children?” What if they also have the disease? ” asks France Gagnon, from the Quebec region.

Since the most severe forms of COVID-19 are predominantly the elderly and the youngest generally have mild symptoms, more often than not, affected parents are able to continue to care for themselves. children. However, they must take a series of precautions (limit contact, wear a mask and gloves, etc.) which can be viewed here .

However, it can still happen that the parent (s) are too sick to continue taking care of their children. If someone has to come and help them, says the INSPQ, it is preferable that it is always the same person and that they are, of course, in good health, not immunosuppressed, etc.

Finally, remember that the current instruction not to have your children looked after by relatives is a recommendation, not a legal obligation. We must respect it as much as possible, but if, for example, a single mother must be hospitalized, it is obvious that she must then entrust her child or children to relatives. They must then try to respect the distancing measures with the child (ren) during the care, even if it can be very difficult. Everyone should also wash their hands regularly, as well as frequently touched surfaces and objects (toys, door handles, etc.).

Q: “Why do some seniors’ residences continue to serve meals in the dining room where several people, not to say a hundred, meet at a time when we are nevertheless advocating distancing. In some cases, if residents ask to have their meal served in their room, they are charged $ 300 per month! ” asks Michèle Tassé.

A: It is not forbidden to use the cafeteria in residences for the elderly, but rather “recommended” to do so. If this is not practical, then a residence can also “encourage spatial distance, for example by limiting the occupancy of the dining room to 50% of capacity with a distance of two meters between users”, m ‘ wrote the INSPQ.


COVID-19 raises a lot of questions. In order to respond to as many people as possible, science journalists have decided to join forces. The media members of the National Cooperative of Independent Information ( Le Soleil, Le Droit, La Tribune, Le Nouvelliste, Le Quotidien and La Voix de l’Est ), Québec Science and the Center Déclic team up to answer your questions . You have some? Write to us . This project is made possible thanks to a contribution from the Chief Scientist of Quebec , who invites you to follow him on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .

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