MONTREAL -- Montreal is reporting its first death due to COVID-19 as cases rose on Wednesday to 603.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Montreal public health director Mylene Drouin outlined the latest in how the pandemic is affecting the city.

Of those 603 cases:

  • 40 have been hospitalized
  • 7 are in intensive care
  • 1 senior has died
  • 31 are health care workers

Montreal is home to 40 per cent of the cases across Quebec.

Many of the cases (42 per cent) are in the Centre-West region, which includes Cote-St-Luc, where there was an outbreak at a long-term care facility.

It’s difficult to determine the exact reason for all cases, said Drouin, who explained that in nearly half of the cases, people were returning from a trip, but others may have had contact with travellers, and are even second or third generation transmissions.

Nearly half of cases are in people 50 years old and older, 27 per cent of which are people 60 and older.

All age groups are represented, said Drouin, adding that there are very few cases in children.

The main symptoms are coughing, fever and overwhelming fatigue, she said.

Every case is investigated by public health.

“We have to identify the source, (and) identify if there is an outbreak,” said Drouin, who explained that public health is reaching out to clusters of cases to determine who is most at risk so they have the information they need to ensure they aren’t infected.

Drouin put out another plea to people returning from travel, imploring them to isolate for 14 days upon their return. She said 9,000 people landed at Trudeau airport in Montreal on Tuesday and another 4,000 so far on Wednesday.

“We do not have the luxury to have new cases in Montreal. We need you to cooperate,” she said.