Quebecers ‘need to stay home,’ health minister says as province reports 1,364 new COVID-19 cases

Quebec is strongly urging people to stay home after reporting 1,364 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday in a record high for the province hit hardest by the pandemic.

Health Minister Christian Dubé told reporters in Quebec City that the second wave of the novel coronavirus is different and evolving quickly, which is why the government has rolled out restrictions to cap the spread of the respiratory illness.

Younger people are contracting the virus and community transmission is gaining traction compared to the spring, leading to a surge in new infections, deaths and hospitalizations over the last week, he said.

“Let’s get the message through: people need to stay home,” Dubé said.

Read more: Quebec introduces COVID Alert app as daily case tally tops 1,000 for 4th straight day

Quebec’s record high in new cases brings its total to 81,014 — the highest in the country. On Tuesday, Montreal, with 442 new cases, and the Montérégie region south of the city, with 223, accounted for nearly half of the new infections. Quebec City reported 201 new infections.

There are 17 additional deaths, but authorities say three of them occurred in the last 24 hours. Fourteen fatalities have been retroactively added to the province’s death toll.

Two deaths previously linked to the virus have been removed from the total, bringing it to 5,899 deaths to date.

Hospitalizations also continued to climb to a total of 397, an increase of 36 from the previous day. Five more patients are in intensive care. As of Tuesday, 67 people are in intensive care.

READ MORE: Quebec makes masks mandatory for high school students in coronavirus red zones

Dubé said the soar in hospital numbers is putting pressure on the health-care network, which he has repeatedly described as fragile.

“Don’t take the risk,” he said. “Please don’t test the hospital system.”

The latest data shows 20,339 tests were conducted Sunday. Quebec has carried out 2,500,916 tests since March.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Quebec increases measures for COVID-19 red zones' 1:49 Coronavirus: Quebec increases measures for COVID-19 red zones

Coronavirus: Quebec increases measures for COVID-19 red zones

With files from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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