Noting a sharp rise in new cases in recent days, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé implored Quebecers to focus on preventing the spread of COVID-19 during the Labour Day long weekend.
Dubé said a new system of classifications will be introduced next week, which will allow the government to impose restrictions in more targeted areas of the province. He warned the measures would be applied if case numbers continue to climb.
Quebec reported 184 new cases on Friday, and 187 new cases on Thursday, some of the highest totals since early summer.
"The cases are increasing every day, and this is not good news," Dubé said.
"More cases mean potentially more outbreaks. This is what we don't want. It's a danger for our schools, a danger especially for healthcare workers and our seniors."
The minister was more upbeat about the situation in Quebec's schools, which have reopened over the past two weeks. He declared that effort a success, saying that although there have been single cases in some schools, there have been no outbreaks among students.
"We have 3,000 schools in Quebec and we have around 25 affected (by the virus) in the last week, so I think we have this really under control," he said.
Dubé pointed to Quebec's daycares, open for several months, as evidence the government had learned how to effectively manage the school situation.
"We've had around 100 cases in the last three or four months" in total, Dubé said. "It shows we know how to control the cases in the school environment."
He said the government will publish, later on Friday, a list of all schools where infections have been reported.
The 180 new cases reported Friday marked a week straight of new cases in the triple digits, a trend last seen in early August.
Dubé has previously stated the government considers the epidemiological curve in Quebec "flattened" as long as the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases is under 170. It currently sits at 140.
He also observed that the province's health network performed more than 19,000 tests on Thursday — a record — and cautioned the number of new cases may continue to rise in coming days.
Dubé called upon Quebecers to do their part to prevent that.
"Please do surprise us over the weekend," he said, addressing the public.
"Whether we're talking about restaurants or private parties or family parties — I believe the Labour Day weekend is a weekend where we get together and have fun. But please surprise us by following the rules, even though I know it's not always easy."