Quebec reporting 2,038 new COVID-19 infections, 44 deaths linked to virus

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MONTREAL — Quebec posted more than 2,000 daily COVID-19 infections for the first time this week on Saturday, reporting 2,038 confirmed cases and 44 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

One day after health officials warned some hospitals were in a critical state, the Health Department said there was a slight decline in the number of hospitalizations by six patients for a total of 1,005.

One additional patient was in intensive care for a total of 142.

Quebec passed 1,000 hospitalizations earlier this week and Health Minister Christian Dube said Friday some hospitals are setting up beds in "non-traditional locations" like hotels.

Dube said the province has 2,164 beds across the province for COVID patients and asked Quebecers to follow public health rules during the holidays to ensure the network isn't overwhelmed.

Of the 44 deaths recorded, two were reported in the previous 24 hours while 39 died between Dec. 12 and Dec. 17.

Quebec has had 174,839 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,715 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

An additional 1,847 were considered recovered for a total of 149,245.

Montreal reported the most cases with 625, followed by the Monteregie region south of the city with 349 infections and the Quebec City region with 219 cases.

Six other regions in the province reported more than 100 infections. The province has 17,879 active cases.

The province has ramped up testing, conducting a record 42,136 tests on Thursday, the last day for which figures were available.

"However, the cases continue to increase," Dube wrote Saturday on Twitter. "We all have a role to play in making cases go down: we must limit our contacts."

Authorities said 715 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered on Friday and 4,020 long-term care residents and health workers have received the first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine since Monday.

Health officials said the goal was to inoculate 4,875 people by the end of the first week of the campaign at two long-term care homes in Montreal and Quebec City.

The province plans to open up 21 more sites as of Monday and is stepping up vaccinations as the doses are delivered.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2020.

The Canadian Press