Quebec reports 2,146 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths linked to virus

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Quebec health officials reported more than 2,000 daily cases of COVID-19 for the second straight day on Sunday, recording 2,146 new infections and 21 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

The province said three of those deaths took place in the past 24 hours, while 18 occurred between Dec. 13 and Dec. 18.

Authorities said hospitalizations increased by five for a total of 1,010 on Sunday, and of those, 146 people were in intensive care — up four from a day earlier.

Health Minister Christian Dube said the high number of hospitalizations is putting a strain on the province's health-care system.

"The pressure is strong on our health-care network and our personnel. We have to limit our contacts if we want to reverse this trend," Dube tweeted Sunday.

Earlier this week, COVID-19 hospitalizations surpassed the 1,000-case mark, prompting Dube to ask Quebecers Friday to avoid going to emergency rooms and clinics unless absolutely necessary.

He said the situation was critical at 10 hospitals.

Quebec has now reported 176,985 COVID-19 cases and 7,736 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The regions with the most new cases reported Sunday were Montreal with 786; Monteregie, south of Montreal, with 331, and the Quebec City area and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, each with 147 cases.

Authorities said Sunday that 719 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered on Saturday, for a total of 4,716 inoculations since the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was first administered in the province on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2020.

The Canadian Press