MONTREAL -- Twenty-five more people have died of COVID-19 in Quebec in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 241 in the province as of Friday.

There are now 11,677 confirmed cases of COVID-19, as health officials reported 765 new cases of Friday.

There are 733 Quebecers being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals as of Friday afternoon, public health authorities reported, up 54 from the 679 reported Thursday; 186 of them are in intensive care, which is a decrease of 10 cases from the 196 reported the day before.

Premier Francois Legault made the announcement during the province’s daily briefing on Friday alongside Quebec public health director Horacio Arruda and Health Minister Danielle McCann.

"We're reaching the peak," said Legault as he detailed the number of cases.

As of Friday, 1,341 people are confirmed to have recovered, according to government data.

Another 2,721 cases are under investigation and there have been 106,540 negative tests so far.

The premier drew on the theme of Easter to encourage Quebecers, saying the province will be “reborn” following this crisis, and said he believes the economy will grow stronger and more prosperous when the pandemic wanes.

“In the last weeks, we’ve all changed our lives to protect the most vulnerable. We should be proud of ourselves. We’re doing everything we can to win the battle of our lives,” said Legault, calling for unity in the difficult road ahead.

“We know better days are coming,” he said.


Legault has spoken optimistically about reopening certain business sectors, counter to some of the federal messaging from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Legault said scenarios include the “more than serious” possibility of reopening schools and daycares by May 4, when non-essential businesses are slated to re-open. Legault said children are at a lower risk of having serious complications related to COVID-19, adding that it would be imperative they don't have contact with their grandparents.

Trudeau spoke of a longer timeframe on Friday, saying if “we stay strong in our social distancing measures, now and for the coming weeks, we can see how things can start getting back to normal in the coming months.”

Legault said each province will have to respond to the pandemic differently because cases are evolving at a different rate across the nation.

“Everyone has their strategy,” he said, adding that the provinces are unanimous in that they do not want the federal government imposing nationwide guidelines, and instead, need to decide what is best for each province.

Arruda referred to the gradual reopening of the economy like “turning on a tap,” saying they will need to find equilibrium by starting with small reopenings and measuring.

“If we don’t do that, people are going to get crazy,” said Arruda, adding that the province is taking into consideration other public health issues that could stem from lengthy closures, including depression and suicide.

Legault said it was important to remain optimistic.

“I don’t want to take any risks that are too high, but at the same time, we need eventually to restart the economy and give hope to the population,” he said.