MONTREAL -- style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"> There are now 150 Quebecers who have died from COVID-19, and the number of confirmed cases in Quebec has reached 9,340, health authorities announced Tuesday.


That's an increase of 29 from the 121 deaths reported Monday and up 760 from the 8,580 cases reported across the province 24 hours earlier.


There are 583 Quebecers being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals as of Tuesday afternoon, health authorities reported, up 50 from the 533 reported Monday; 164 of them are in intensive care, the same number reported the day before.


Quebec Premier Francois Legault said the stable number of Quebecers in intensive care was a very encouraging sign, as the number of COVID-19 ICU patients is seen as a strong indicator that physical distancing and other public-health orders are working.


However, Legault - as he has been doing daily - urged Quebecers not to let up on those measures just because they see a glimmer of good news in the daily numbers Quebec makes public.


He said this is especially important with religious holidays such as Easter and Passover in the coming days, occasions that often bring together large number of people to celebrate. 


"I know it's part of the tradition to come together in church, in synagogue or with family. This year, theree should be no physical gathering," he said. "Now is not the time for family parties. We can celebrate together but from a distance - by phone, or by video. Let us be clear: all gatherings are prohibited."




The premier also addressed the situation in Quebec's long-term care facilities, at least 150 of which have reported outbreaks. One of the most severe is in a Laval facility, where eight people had died of COVID-19 as of Monday and at least 100 have been infected.


"The situation in residential centres for the elderly, both public and private, is very alarming," he said. Legault promised the doctors and nurses working in those facilities that reinforcements are on their way.


"It's really my priority," he said. 




Legault assured Quebecers that while some places in North America have reported severe shortages of medical equipment and personal protection equipment needed to safely treat COVID-19 patients, Quebec's supply is stable. 


However, there is some concern about the material required for COVID-19 testing, particularly the reagent necessary for test analysis. Legault said the province has enough materials to last through next week and that work is underway to resupply. 




In a lighter moment, Legault - speaking directly to Quebec's children - said he is adding the Tooth Fairy to Quebec's list of essential services, and that the Tooth Fairy is immune to COVID-19.


Montreal remains the region hardest hit by COVID-19, with 4,407 cases as of Tuesday; you can find a complete regional breakdown here.


Health authorities also reported Tuesday that 720 Quebecers who had contracted COVID-19 have now recovered; that's up 109 from the 611 recoveries reported Monday.


The province's regular Tuesday update was followed by another press conference by Quebec health officials, who revealed their COVID-19 projections for the province,