At the last mile of her investigation into the wave of deaths in CHSLDs, coroner Géhane Kamel expressed her dissatisfaction on Monday with the few answers provided so far by her witnesses.< /p>
After almost a year of investigation, she heard from her last witness, the one she had called the “missing piece” to her puzzle to explain the wave of deaths that occurred in CHSLDs in the spring of 2020, the former director of civil security at the Ministry of Health, Martin Simard.
Asked if he remembered having discussed in March 2020 the lack of protective equipment in CHSLDs, Martin Simard indicated that he did not remember.
What happened momentarily knocked the coroner out of her hinges.
“We've been told for a year now: I can't tell you, I can't tell you, and it's not may not be our ministry [etc.]. It seems to me that people should be able to tell us in all honesty that they may have had a blind spot towards the CHSLDs […]”, she protested.
“Both arms fall to me, she then sighed. In fact, the missing piece of the puzzle will always be missing because we can't get to the end of this story. Is it normal that we are not able to have a story that holds together?”
Not specifically for CHSLDs
Martin Simard also gave his reading of the letter he sent to the health network on January 28, 2020, asking it to prepare and that the former Minister of Health, Danielle McCann, had brandished to to defend himself for having neglected the CHSLDs.
According to the former senior official, this missive written in bureaucratic language did not ask the establishments to prepare one of their sectors in particular, in this case the CHSLDs .
“This correspondence, this appeal to institutions, was to coordinate preparedness efforts, taking into account all sectors,” he described.
Instead, the first public health indication of the particular risk of COVID-19 for seniors came on March 11, 2021, he said. However, during his testimony, the former national director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, had nevertheless claimed to have known of this information as early as February.
Martin Simard added that it was up to public health and the General Directorate for Seniors and Caregivers (DGAPA) to raise a flag on the vulnerability of CHSLDs to the virus.
“The members of the civil security do not have clinical competence or in virology or epidemiology”, he recalled.
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