MONTREAL -- Quebec health authorities reported 750 more cases of COVID-19 in the province on Monday, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 72,651. 

One more death from an unknown date was also recorded in Quebec on Monday, for a total of 5,826.

Monday's announcement saw an increase of 245 cases on the Island of Montreal (total 33,184) and 125 more in Quebec City (total 3,834). Laval reported an increase of 73 cases (total 7,018) and Monteregie reported 81 (total 10,544). The Eastern Townships reported 28 new cases (total 1,739), the Laurentians, 37 (total 4,703) and Outaouais, 27 (total 1,292). Chaudiere-Appalaches recorded an increase of 41 (total 1,241). 

Hospitalizations in the province decreased by four from Sunday to Monday. The number of people receiving treatment for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals is now 212. Of them, 37 are in intensive care, which is a decrease of four from the number reported on Sunday. 

Health Minister Christian Dube called the situation "very worrying" in certain Quebec regions on Monday morning, ahead of a 5:30 p.m. press conference during which he, Premier Francois Legault and public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda announced that Montreal and Quebec City are entering the 'red' zone on the province's regional alert map. The trio will detail what the red alert level means for Quebecers in those regions. 

There are now 61,629 people confirmed recovered from COVID-19 in Quebec, which is an increase of 500 from the number reported on Sunday -- or about 84.8 per cent of the total number of cases in the province. 

Quebec reported that it completed analyses of 17,310 COVID-19 tests on Sept. 26 (Quebec reports its daily testing figures from two days prior to its daily updates). 

The Quebec government has tightened criteria for who can get a COVID-19 test, announcing it will prioritize people who are showing symptoms or who have been in close contact with a positive case.

The provincial health department said in a news release that as cases rise, it's important to focus on testing those who are most likely to have COVID-19 in order to speed up contact tracing and prevent outbreaks.

Those who don't fall into either category can be refused testing, the government said.

-- with files from The Canadian Press.