MONTREAL -- Quebec public health authorities have announced they will be using a new system for calculating the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 -- a decision which immediately sent the province's, and Canada's, recovery numbers skyrocketing Friday.

"The method used to estimate recovered patients...resulted in a significant underestimation," Quebec's public health agency wrote in an explanation later Friday.

It said the new method will bring Quebec in line with other Canadian provinces.

The numbers are big: provincial authorities announced that 23,686 more people have now officially recovered from the virus, adding up to a total of 49,939. That equals 87 per cent of the total cases in Quebec, up from the 67 per cent of cases that were considered recovered just a day earlier, on Thursday.

The new number also drastically reduces the national number of active cases, which was at 27,603 before the massive jump in recoveries. The number of active cases in Canada is now 4,058

The national recovery rate is now at 88 per cent, up from 67 per cent on Thursday.

According to Quebec, there are now just 1,566 active cases out of the 57,142 positive cases reported. 

At first, Quebec did not specify what system they had been using to calculate recoveries or what was changing. But later in the day, they clarified.

Essentially, Quebec had been unique in not assuming people had recovered from COVID-19 if they weren't in hospital or deceased. Once people tested positive, if there was no further proof of their recovery, their case would still be listed as active.

Starting now, however, "a new algorithm is being applied retroactively" to account for these cases and make it possible to estimate their numbers, the public health agency wrote.

Anyone who has tested positive and who hasn't died or is currently hospitalized will be counted as recovered after a certain period of time, which changes depending on certain factors.

For most people, once 14 days have passed since a positive test, they'll be considered recovered if not hospitalized or deceased. For people considered immunosuppressed, the algorithm will count them as recovered after 21 days. And for people over age 80 or living in long-term care homes, it's 28 days.

The number of new active cases in Quebec continues to trend upward. Since Thursday, 141 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, down one from 142 cases reported Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday had 109 and 129 new cases, respectively.

Authorities reported that just one person has died in the past 24 hours from COVID-19, and hospitalizations continue to drop.

The total number of deaths due to the virus is now 5,647 since the start of the pandemic. The one death was reported in Laval.

Hospitalizations due to the virus dropped again with 17 fewer people receiving treatment in Quebec hospitals for a total of 260. Of those, 16 people are in the intensive care ward, a decrease of four.The two hardest hit areas in the past 24 hours were Montreal with 78 new cases and Monteregie with 33 making up 77 per cent of the new cases in Quebec.

Quebec health professionals analyzed 14,952 samples July 15, which is 2,065 more than were performed the day before. (Quebec releases testing information from two days prior to the daily updates).

This is an developing story that will be updated.