There were seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 among children in Quebec living in foster families and other government facilities as of Monday, according to numbers provided by the province’s Ministry of Health and Social Services.
Two of the cases are among children living with foster families, and the other five are among children living in one of the province’s rehabilitation centres, which can include youth jails. Their exact ages were not specified, but they are all under the age of 18.
“Six (including 5 in rehabilitation centres) of the 7 confirmed cases are counted in the territory of the CIUSSS (Integrated Health and Social Services Centres) Center-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. The last case is in the Mauricie-Centre-du Québec region,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) said in an email to Global News.
The spokesperson said the ministry is not tracking how many of these children have recovered from the virus.
“As for the current state of health of these young people, the MSSS does not have access to their medical records and does not follow the cases individually,” the spokesperson wrote.
When asked whether the province is tracking the number of coronavirus tests being carried out among children in government care and staff, the spokesperson said that while such data exists, “it is not possible to extract it specifically for staff and children in foster (families) or rehabilitation centres.”
Last month, LaPresse reported that two Montreal-area youth protection workers had tested positive for the coronavirus and that two more cases were under investigation.
“(T)he MSSS has information on the number of network workers infected, but does not have information on how many of these workers work in youth centres,” the ministry spokesperson wrote.
Global News reported last week that four children living in group homes and foster care had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, as had eight staff members who work at youth detention facilities and group homes. Two of those children were reported to have recovered, as had five of the staff members.
The ministry said it is not tracking the total number of children in care who had been tested for the coronavirus, with the exception of children in youth detention facilities, where there had been 25 tests conducted.
On Wednesday, Ontario’s Health Minister said the province is going to closely monitor children with COVID-19 following reports of a rare inflammatory illness in children who test positive for the virus.
A number of children in Montreal recently exhibited symptoms of the inflammatory syndrome, and Montreal researchers are looking into whether antibody testing will provide insight into those cases.
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, told reporters this week that clinicians have been alerted to reports of the illness called multisystem inflammatory vasculitis or variants of Kawasaki syndrome.
“It’s really an alert to clinicians to think about what might be the underlying causes, because it’s not specific to COVID-19,” Tam said. “But it is important to catch people who are presenting with these syndromes and further determine whether COVID-19 could be a cause.”
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