Quebec is placing more parts of the province in the red zone, the highest level of its novel coronavirus alert system.
Health Minister Christian Dubé said in a statement Wednesday that all of the Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec regions will turn red, with the shutdown of bars and other establishments coming into effect Friday night.
Tighter measures will also be in place for schools starting next Monday, according to the government.
“There is a worrying increase in cases and community transmission in other sectors of the Mauricie region,” he said. “And that is why public health authorities have recommended this change for all MRCs.”
A large swath of the province is on red alert, including Montreal and Quebec City. A partial lockdown is underway in those areas to stem the tide of the virus.
Quebec reported 1,072 new cases and 19 additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Wednesday as the second wave continues.
Two of those deaths occurred in the last 24 hours while 17 of them have been added to the province’s death toll retroactively.
The caseload now stands at 96,288 and the health crisis has killed 6,074 people to date in the province, which is the hardest hit by the pandemic. So far, more than 80,000 recoveries have been recorded.
The number of hospitalizations remained unchanged as of Wednesday at 565.
Of those patients, 94 are in intensive care. That’s a decrease of six from the previous day.
Health authorities say the most recent data shows 21,902 tests were given Monday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2,861,156 tests have been conducted in Quebec.
There are four public long-term care homes and nine private seniors residences where more than 25 per cent of residents have COVID-19, according to authorities.
— With files from the Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.