MONTREAL -- UPDATE: Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec jump to more than 1,600; two new deaths reported. See the story here.

Quebec is "an army of 8.5 million people" in the fight against COVID-19, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Wednesday as the province announced it now has more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the disease and two new deaths linked to it.

"Every action will bring us closer to victory," Legault said. "Our children and grandchildren will remember we won this battle.

"So let’s make them proud. Let’s continue our efforts together."

Legault's encouragement came at the province's daily update in Quebec City, where health officials announced the province has 1,339 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon and two more patients have died, provincial health officials announced.

That's up sharply from the 1,013 cases that were reported Tuesday afternoon. There are now six deaths in Quebec linked to COVID-19.

Seventy-eight patients are in hospitals in the province, with 35 of them in intensive care.

Authorities report that 2,998 people are awaiting test results, while 26,634 tests have come back negative as of Wednesday.

One patient who had contracted COVID-19 has since recovered.

Of the confirmed cases in Quebec, 603 are in Montreal, including the city's first death. You can find a complete regional breakdown here.

Wednesday's update from Legault, Health Minister Danielle McCann and the province's director of public health, Horacio Arruda, came on the first full day of a province-wide shut-down of all non-essential businesses and services, which are to remain closed until April 13.

Legault said Wednesday he is proud of Quebecers for how they are responding to the government's measures, but said it is essential that everyone continues to follow physical distancing guidelines.

Legault reiterated that seniors are not to leave their homes or residences without supervision.

He also ordered that Quebec snowbirds returning from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

"It's very important to do so you're not at risk of spreading the virus," Legault said, noting that returning snowbirds should not even go out for a walk once they get home.

Legault also called on the province's landlords to be flexible and understanding of Quebecers who are unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19 fallout.

Legault has called the ongoing shutdown a "pause" on Quebec's economy in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Quebec has issued a list of essential services and businesses that may remain operational during the shutdown.