Police see uptick in COVID-19 related calls

CALEB NICKERSON
OUTAOUAIS April 1, 2020
Police are getting an increase in calls about people ignoring public health mandates to distance themselves from others, but aren’t able to divulge information on specific cases.
Last week, there were reports on social and traditional media that a person from another region who tested positive had visited the area of Mansfield and Fort Coulonge last weekend before leaving. Shortly after, the Municipality of Mansfield issued a retraction of their previous announcement.
Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Sgt. Marc Tessier said while police remain in contact with public officials, they can’t comment on the specifics of any case.
“Any information regarding a person that may or may not have COVID, it’s confidential,” he said. “By the law we can’t give any details … So we probably do have a lot of contacts with local officials because it’s important, but I can’t comment precisely on one case for legal reasons.”
Tessier added that police will act if people are defying public health orders to stay isolated, but they don’t follow everyone who has tested positive.
“We do have many cases [where] we intervene but there’s no watch system to check people,” he said. “If we do have someone, who has the virus or not, and is walking around interacting with people, we’re going to intervene. But … we’re not putting a police man on every doorstep.”
He said that they’ve had a substantial increase in the number of calls regarding distancing measures, but since people have usually obeyed their warnings, police have yet to resort to more drastic measures.
“I don’t have a precise number… but there’s a lot more calls for sure,” he said. “Every time we do intervene, we didn’t have to use more powers than normal. People are respecting what we do, nobody has received a fine, nobody has been arrested.”

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