Quebec reports 1,211 new cases of COVID-19, 15 additional deaths linked to virus

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MONTREAL — Quebec residents must not become complacent about following public health precautions in light of a single day of slightly declining case numbers, the province's health minister said on Sunday. 

Christian Dube described the latest case count as "encouraging," but noted the 1,211 new diagnoses reported in the past 24 hours is still very high.

Dube said he was particularly happy to see a drop in cases in regions that were recently moved to the province's highest alert level. But he urged Quebecers to remain vigilant in their efforts to reduce transmission.

"One day of good news is not sufficient to say we won the war," Dube said at a morning news conference in Montreal. "You know me, I'd rather be prudent."

Sunday's decline came a day after Quebec recorded the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. The province recorded 1,448 new diagnoses on Saturday. 

The province reported an additional 15 deaths on Sunday, down from 25 recorded the day before.

Public health authorities said two of the most recent deaths took place in the last 24 hours, 11 occurred between Nov. 8 and 13, one was before Nov. 8 and one occurred at an unspecified date.

The province has now reported 123,854 cases of COVID-19 and 6,626 total deaths.

"Let's take the good news where it is, but we shouldn't celebrate 1,200; 1,200 is still a lot of cases and we need to keep going down," Dube said.

Not all the latest indicators moved in a positive direction. Officials said hospitalizations went up by four on Sunday over a 24-hour period for a total of 587. Of those, 89 people were in intensive care, an increase of seven from the previous day.

The province on Sunday also said it would invest an additional $100 million annually to support at-home health services for the elderly and others in need of care.

Speaking alongside Dube at the news conference, Marguerite Blais, Quebec's minister responsible for seniors and informal caregivers, said the funds would help offer better and more services and boost workers' salaries.

She said the investment comes amid an increase in at-home care in Quebec, home to a rapidly aging population.

"Right now we serve a total of one million people aged 70 and over, and in 10 years, it will be 1.5 million people aged 70 and over," Blais said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press