MONTREAL -- Due to a growing number of COVID-19 cases, Quebec's Eastern Townships region was elevated to the highest alert level on Monday.

Before Monday, The Eastern Townships were classified as an orange zone; the change means a tightening of public health restrictions.

Those restrictions include the closing of restaurants except for delivery and take-out and limiting houses of worship to 25 people.

Outdoor sports and leisure activities will be limited to only people residing at the same address or a group of eight people who must socially distance.

Indoor activities such as swimming and tennis will be limited to pairs of people or those residing in the same residence. Gyms will be closed entirely.

In Quebec's red zones, primary and secondary schools remain open.

On Saturday, the region reported 86 new cases of the virus over the previous 24 hours. The number of new cases has steadily risen over the past week, with 70 reported on Friday, 55 on Thursday, 53 on Wednesday and 48 on Tuesday.

Since the start of the pandemic, 334 of Quebec's 10,981 COVID-19 related deaths have been in Eastern Townships.