Quebec cabinet ministers, Montreal mayor in isolation after Longueuil mayor tests positive for COVID-19

Quebec cabinet ministers, Montreal mayor in isolation after Longueuil mayor tests positive for COVID-19

Several members of the Quebec government and the mayor of the province's largest city are in isolation after meeting with a municipal politician who tested positive for COVID-19.

Sylvie Parent, mayor of Longueuil on Montreal's South Shore, said she first experienced symptoms of the virus on Friday, and was tested the next day after she found out someone she had interacted with had tested positive.

Her positive test result came Sunday, after a busy week of meetings.

She was at a news conference last Wednesday alongside Transport Minister François Bonnardel and junior transport minister Chantal Rouleau, who doubles as the minister responsible for Montreal, and Laval Mayor Marc Demers.

The following day, she attended a news conference with Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, Vachon MNA Ian Lafrenière and Catherine Fournier, MNA for Marie-Victorin.

All six are in isolation as they await their results.

Sylvie Parent/Facebook
Sylvie Parent/Facebook

The ruling Coalition Avenir Québec is scheduled to hold its pre-sessional caucus later this week. It seems likely the event will take place without three influential members of the provincial cabinet.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, as well, said on Twitter Tuesday she would also go into isolation since she met with Rouleau last week.

Web of exposure

The web of people potentially exposed to COVID-19 from Parent underscored the challenge of containing the spread of the virus.

At a news conference Tuesday, Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said he may also need get tested. He said he had met with Jolin-Barrette on Friday.

Later in the day, a spokesperson for Roberge realized, after checking his agenda, that they had not in fact met in person but that he would monitor himself for any symptoms.

Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault, who was beside Roberge at the news conference, said she would use the province's self-assessment tool to determine if she also should get tested.

"We all are wondering, 'at what point should I isolate myself?' she said.

"When Jean-François was answering the question, I realized that I'm just beside him. So this is some of the chain reaction. At what point should we isolate ourselves. I will also go on the website and see the checkpoints, if I should [isolate]."

Watch: Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault realizes she too may need to isolate

Parent, for her part, said the fact she has contracted COVID-19 should stand as a cautionary tale for everyone.

"I have often added my voice to those who remind us that the pandemic is far from over, and I am proof of that today," Parent said in a statement.

"I reiterate the importance for each of us to respect the physical distancing rules and public health directives."