MONTREAL -- A Quebec court approved a $5.5 million settlement for families who had loved ones living at the Herron long-term care home when it was hit hard by the first wave of COVID-19.

In a decision released Thursday, Justice Donald Bisson of Quebec Superior Court approved the payout, which was reached amicably in late March.

The families had begun the process of filing a class-action lawsuit, but they reached a settlement with the home's management before the lawsuit was authorized.

The terms of the settlement break down payments into several categories of people who will qualify for different amounts.

The amount will go to the estates of deceased residents, to spouses or children of the deceased, and to residents themselves who were living at the home during the first wave and survived.

The proposed class action alleged that residents were deprived of care and neglected last spring. The lead plaintiff argued that the residents deserved to be compensated for the way they were treated.

During the first wave of the pandemic, 47 people died at CHSLD Herron. The home has since closed.

The settlement needed to be approved by a judge, and the case was heard on April 30. The lawyer for the families, Arthur Wechsler, said at the time that he hoped the payments would go out by the end of the year.

A coroner's public inquest into long-term care home deaths in the first wave of the pandemic hasn't yet looked into what happened at Herron, whose situation was the most infamous and high-profile of Quebec care homes.

The inquest was meant to begin with Herron, but it postponed that part at the request of the home's lawyers because of the proposed class action.

--With files from The Canadian Press