MONTREAL -- Montreal public health authorities announced Wednesday that 269 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours bringing the total number of cases on the island to 36,207.

There were no new deaths reported on the island for the second day, and the total number of deaths due to the disease remains 3,487.

The health and social services centre (CIUSSS) with the highest increase in cases was in the centre west's where cases increased by 69. The CIUSSS West Island's cases increased by 59 (4,651 total), the east CIUSSS increased by 56 (10,944 total), the CIUSSS north increased by 49 (8,819 total) and the south-central CIUSS increased by 35 (4,882 total).

Sixty-five of the new cases were reported in people in their 20s and 56 were found in people in their 30s, which were the highest demographic rise on the island. 

Montreal Public Health is reporting 125 people in hospital, which is more than double from last week. 25 of them are in the ICU.

As of Wednesday there are 130 COVID-19 outbreaks in the city. Of those, 42 occurred in schools, 50 in workplaces and 12 occurred in private senior care centres -- including in one that is tied to 25 infections.


Public health officials say cases among seniors are up and increasing rapidly. Last week, cases among people aged 65 and up represented 6 per cent of infections. This week, seniors made 12-15 per cent of daily cases.

The city says that seniors living in intergenerational homes are particularly at risk, with an increase in cases where seniors caught the virus from children and grandchildren.

Public health is urging those households to be especially vigilant during the holidays, avoiding family gatherings as much as possible.

"We will celebrate once we are out of this red zone," said Mayor Valérie Plante at a news conference Wednesday. 

She said the city's hospitals are still far from capicity. All hospitals have made space for coronavirus patients, for a total of 1,000 available beds accross Montreal. One hundred and fifty of those beds are reserved for people requiring intensive care. Operating rooms will not be closed, and more health-care workers have been hired to reduce movement between facilities.


Dr. Mylène Drouin, director of Montreal Public Health, said now may be the time to find a level of precaution that Montrealers can live with for "months and months, even into the next year."

Plante urged Montrealers to spend time outside during lockdown, even as high-contact sports are postponed. She urged people to stay away from large parks like Mount Royal, and to opt instead for local green spaces to allow for easier social distancing. 

- With files from The Canadian Press