Montreal's director of public health says now that the city has been upgraded to "yellow" under Quebec's colour-coded COVID-19 alert system, people must be more diligent to help get the situation under control before it gets worse.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mylène Drouin said public health is preparing to increase screening to get people tested rapidly so those who have COVID-19 are quickly put into self-isolation to prevent further spread of the disease.
As it stands, cases are on the rise and if people don't show solidarity, stricter public health measures could again be enforced to avoid an outbreak like that experienced in the spring, said Drouin, during a Tuesday news conference.
Overall, she said, the situation is not looking as dire as it did in the spring.
Roughly 125 schools that have at least one case of COVID-19, and that leads to the isolation of an entire class, if not more, she said.
That means there are some 1,000 contacts connected to the school cases, making a lot of work for the public health teams, Drouin said. That's why there has been an effort to hire more staff, she said.
"We know this increase will bring a lot of work," Drouin said. "We are adding investigators. We are adding people for the outbreak."
There are about 30 workplace outbreaks, she said, but the hospitals are not seeing a substantial increase in patients. There are three long-term care or retirement homes with at least three cases.
"For the time being, we are confident that we are well prepared in nursing homes," Drouin said. "Most cases we have are healthcare workers. They are quickly isolated and there's little or no transmission in the institution."
WATCH | Drouin explains what it means for Montreal to enter 'yellow' stage:
While all these preparations are in place, she said, people must get tested if they were in contact with a COVID-19 patient or are showing symptoms.
People then need to answer the phone and work with public health officials who are trying to reduce transmission, she said.
Drouin said people in the 18 to 30 age range are the most affected by COVID-19.
She said it is important that they, along with everybody else, adhere to public health recommendations — maintaining physical distance and washing hands.
On Tuesday, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante took to Twitter to urge people to be more careful as there are 96 new cases in the city.
"It's too much. I ask all of us to redouble our efforts," she wrote.
4 regions upgraded to yellow
Earlier in the day, Quebec Premier François Legault announced the regions of Montreal, Montérégie, Lower Saint-Lawrence and Chaudière-Appalache are now all yellow zones.
Legault warned that if people don't avoid gatherings as much as possible, the province may again have to shut down schools and businesses.
That system was announced earlier this month. It is intended to help people understand the current level of risk, but also what actions will be taken in the event of serious outbreaks.
A "yellow" designation means there will be an increase in enforcement of public health guidelines and, potentially, an increase in fines.
There are four possible colours, red being the maximum and requiring restrictive public health measures.
Last week, Drouin said people need to be more careful when gathering or a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases could bump the city up to yellow.
Montreal has had 30,571 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 3,476 deaths.
The entire Montreal agglomeration declared a state of emergency on March 27, giving local officials exceptional powers to deal with the pandemic across the island. That declaration was again renewed on Monday for another five days.