Quebec raises coronavirus alert level for more regions as 815 new cases reported

Quebec is expanding its red zone designation to the Montérégie, Centre-du-Québec and Capitale-Nationale areas as the novel coronavirus takes hold in different regions, the province’s premier announced Tuesday.

François Legault said the tightened restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 will come into effect for those areas on Friday. The highest alert level is already in place in the province’s largest cities, including Montreal.

“There’s no magic recipe,” he told reporters in Montreal. “We have to reduce our contacts.”

The province reported 815 new infections Tuesday, bringing its caseload to 87,791. It is the lowest daily number of new cases since the end of September.

Legault said it is too early to celebrate the drop in the new cases compared to previous weeks, but he did say it shows partial lockdown measures are helping to stem the tide of COVID-19.  All Quebecers must avoid private social gatherings, where the risk of transmission is high, he added.

“This would mean our efforts are paying off but the virus is spreading in other regions,” he said, adding the respiratory illness will be here for months.

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Quebec’s public health director echoed the sentiment, saying the rules are helping but it is too early to know if the partial lockdown will be lifted in red zones at the end of the month.

“It’s too soon to say what will happen Oct. 28,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in less-populated areas such as the Saguenay, where officials are reporting an outbreak of 25 cases at a long-term care home. The alert level for Saguenay is being raised to orange, Legault said.

Quebec also recorded five additional deaths Tuesday, including three that occurred in the last 24 hours. To date, the health crisis has killed 5,970 people.

Authorities also reported an uptick in hospitalizations. There are 11 more patients in hospital, for a total of 468.

Of them, 85 people are in intensive care units across the province — an increase of 10 from the previous day.

The province says 20,386 tests were carried out Sunday. There have been 2,677,474 tests to date.

With files from the Canadian Press

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