All of Quebec now affected by community transmission of COVID-19, health authorities say
MONTREAL -- After weeks of reporting that travellers returning from abroad were the main transmitters of COVID-19 in Quebec, health authorities said Saturday that community transmission is now the primary cause.
Quebec's national director of public health, Horacio Arruda, announced the new development at Quebec's daily COVID-19 update in Quebec City.
"Today I'm announcing that we are recommending to consider all of Quebec as having community transmission," Arruda said. "What this means is that right now there are still people that could be introducing it through travelling, but the main factor of acquisition of the disease is community transmission."
Quebec Deputy Premier and Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault also announced that the province is adding two more restricted regions in the province, banning non-essential travel to or from Charlevoix and Rouyn-Noranda.
Fourteen more Quebecers have died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of fatalities in the province linked to the disease to 75, health authorities reported Saturday.
That's up from the 61 deaths reported across the province Friday.
There are 6,997 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday afternoon, according to Quebec public health figures, up 896 from the 6,101 cases reported 24 hours earlier.
Health authorities reported that 478 people are being treated for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals, up from the 429 reported Friday; of those, 130 are in intensive care, eight more than yesterday.
There were 3,879 Quebecers awaiting COVID-19 test results as of Saturday afternoon; 83,230 tests have come back negative.
Public-health authorities said 437 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province.
Montreal has far and away the most cases of COVID-19 in the province with 3,261; you can find a complete regional breakdown here.
Guilbault, Arruda and Health Minister Danielle McCann all hammered home how important it is for Quebecer's to follow the province's public-health orders in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"It is not the time right now to be selfish. It is not the time to think only about yourself," Guilbault said. "It is not time to want to defy these laws, it is time to respect them.
Saturday's daily COVID-19 update comes as most stores across Quebec get ready to close on Sunday, as ordered by the Quebec government, so that employees at such establishments can get a day of rest. Those stores will be closed every Sunday during the month of April.
Pharmacies, gas stations and restaurants that offer takeout or delivery will remain open.