Coronavirus: Quebec reports 1,259 new cases, 32 additional deaths as hospitalizations drop

Quebec is reporting 1,259 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of people infected since the beginning of the pandemic to 129,699.

The province reported 32 additional deaths attributable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, with nine of those deaths occurring in the last 24 hours.

To date, a total of 6,774 Quebecers have died of the illness, more than any other province in Canada.

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Hospitalizations are down slightly with a total of 624 patients, for a decrease of 27. Of those, 96 are in intensive care, five fewer than Thursday.

On Thursday, Quebec Premier François Legault outlined his government’s plans for the holiday season that would allow for four days of family gatherings of maximum 10 people, from Dec. 24 to Dec. 27.

The plan includes a modified school schedule and a voluntary confinement period of one week before and after the set dates.

The premier warned, however, that the situation in the province has to remain under control for holiday gatherings to go ahead.

Quebec’s director of public health Dr. Horacio Arruda specified an epidemiological analysis will be required to determine if the plan can go ahead, but essentially the goal is to keep the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths below current levels.

The deciding factor ultimately will be the health-care system’s ability to cope with the crisis, according to Arruda.

Quebecers will know for certain by Dec. 17 whether they will be permitted to gather for the Christmas holidays, public health officials said during a technical briefing on Friday.

They acknowledged, however, that allowing get-togethers isn’t without risk but said people would probably have done it regardless. So by providing a framework, authorities believe Quebecers might be more inclined to follow the recommendations.

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Health authorities say 34,703 tests were given on Nov. 18, the latest day for which that information is available.

Recoveries stand at 111,326.

— With files from The Canadian Press’ Jacob Serebrin

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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