MONTREAL -- The three Quebec regions whose emergency health measures were extended on Tuesday are facing hospital saturation that has forced some patients to be transferred between regions.

Emergency public health measures in three Quebec regions were extended on Tuesday, as Premier François Legault announced at a COVID-19 press conference.

The extension, which will carry on until at least May 3, affects the Quebec City region, Outaouais and Chaudiere-Appalaches.

In those regions, primary and secondary schools will remain closed, as will non-essential businesses. The 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will also remain in place.

The premier explained why the province remains very concerned about the three regions. He warned that their hospitals are approaching their maximum capacity.

Some COVID-19 patients in Beauce have had to be transferred to Levis, he noted, adding that the situation in Outaouais is just as fragile, with some patients being taken to hospital in the Laurentians.

“We have to be careful everywhere, in all regions of Quebec,” he said.

He also said he wanted to assure residents of those regions that the first rule to be relaxed, as soon as it's possible, will be sending young children back to physical schools.

"As soon as we'll have the okay from public health, we'll open first the primary schools," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2021, with files from CTV News.