MONTREAL -- Quebec health officials on Monday said that the province would no longer have to send samples to a national lab in Winnipeg to confirm cases of COVID-19.

A health ministry spokesperson made the announcement while stating that the number of confirmed cases in Quebec has risen to four. A fifth case is still considered "probable."

The most recent of those confirmed cases, announced on Monday, is a Montreal-area man who had recently returned from a trip to the United States and England. He is in isolation at his home.

Since, like the other cases of the disease in Quebec, the man had just returned from a trip abroad, the health ministry spokesperson stressed that there was no indication that the virus was yet spreading through the community. 

Health officials have yet to confirm the final "probable" case of the disease because a sample has already been sent to Winnipeg for confirmation, according to the spokesperson.

Monday's announcement means that test samples won't have to be flown across the country for confirmation.

Another 25 people are currently being tested for the virus in Quebec. Almost 400 have already tested negative for it.  

The province also announced on Monday that several specialized clinics would open, in Montreal, Quebec City and in the Monteregie region, to fight the spread of the new virus.