MONTREAL (JTA) — Jewish Canadians streaming from Florida to outrun the coronavirus and beat the pre-Passover rush unwittingly helped stoke one of the highest virus-positive rates in Quebec province.
Cote St. Luc, a Montreal suburb with the densest and most elderly Jewish population in Quebec, reported some of earliest cases and has declared a state of emergency.
According to news reports, too many of the snowbirds were bent on restocking their pantries and refrigerators instead of directly self-quarantining for 14 days in their homes as mandated by provincial authorities. The infection rate is so high, a virus test center opened Sunday in the parking lot of a Cote St. Luc shopping mall.
One-third of the city’s population is over 65.
On Sunday in Boisbriand, a Hasidic enclave of 4,000 just north of Montreal, community leaders begged authorities to help them enforce a 14-day quarantine. According to reports, some members traveled to New York for the Purim holiday and helped spread the virus at a 40 percent infection rate in their own community upon return.
As is the case everywhere, Canada’s Jews are struggling with the virus. All schools, synagogues and institutions are physically closed as Jewish federations figure out ways to deal “virtually” and in other ways with the crisis. Jewish nursing homes are allowing only deathbed visits.