MONTREAL -- It's highly unlikely Quebec will reimpose a partial lockdown on its citizens this fall if there is a second wave of COVID-19, the province's top doctor said Friday.

Horacio Arruda, director of public health, told reporters that forcing people to stay home can have negative consequences on society, including for children and the elderly.

"We saved a lot of lives, but when we confine people, especially young people, there are consequences," he told reporters in Montreal.

"They need to go to school, they need to socialize. Elderly people can have significant cognitive and physical losses."

Arruda said health officials now know more about COVID-19, especially the role of asymptomatic transmission.

But he warned the province is at the cusp of a second wave and the population needs to follow health directives to reduce the number of cases and avoid overloading the health-care system.

"We can't go back to the way it was before COVID," he said, warning he's seen some people grow lax about certain health measures such as hand-washing. "The virus is in Quebec, it's here, it's here to stay."

For the province's part, Arruda says more detailed plans are in the works, especially around schools. He says he'll make his position on masks in schools public next week.

He also responded to concerns about subsitute teachers, saying there's no plan to limit their movement between schools.

That's because, he says, these teachers pose less risk to schools than part-time health-care workers did to seniors' homes.

Arruda was in Montreal alongside local health officials to present a summary of the first wave of the novel coronavirus.

Montreal's health director, Mylene Drouin, said long-term care homes and seniors' residences, which accounted for 88 per cent of deaths. Health-care workers also suffered, she said, accounting for 22 per cent of infections.

But Drouin said the city recorded some successes, particularly when it came to limiting community transmission.

 -- With files from The Canadian Press