MONTREAL -- Quebec health authorities reported 187 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, its biggest spike since the end of July.

The announcement brings the total number of cases in Quebec since the start of the pandemic to 62,933.

Quebec hasn't reported this many new cases in a 24-hour period since July 23, when it reported 189.  

No one has died in Quebec due to COVID-19 over the past 24 hours. However, three deaths that occurred before Aug. 27 were announced, for a total of 5,767.

There were 41 new cases of COVID-19 reported on the Island of Montreal on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases on the island since the start of the pandemic to 29,936. As for the Quebec City region, 37 new cases have been recorded, bringing the total to 2,153. Quebec City saw a spike this week when an outbreak that began at a karaoke bar spread and infected at least 40 people including children at three schools.

Hospitalizations in Quebec decreased by nine. There are now 100 people being treated for COVID-19 in the province's hospitals. Of them, 20 are in intensive care, which is the same number that was reported on Wednesday. 

As of Thursday, 55,615 people are confirmed recovered from COVID-19, which is an increase of 100 from the day before. 

Quebec reported that it completed analyses of 15,277 COVID-19 tests on Sept. 1, an increase of 2,352 from the 12,925 it completed a day earlier (Quebec reports its daily testing figures from two days prior). 


Premier Francois Legault said the province is looking at ways to crack down on people who defy public health orders, including fines for people and businesses that ignore orders from public health. 

Several people involved in the Quebec City outbreak were not cooperating with public health, and at least one person visited other bars while waiting for their test results.

Should new cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, Legault said he wouldn't rule out implementing lockdowns by region, or even parts of a region.

"If we have to do that in the next weeks or months, it would be per region, or per part of regions, also. We're getting very close to the management, the testing of the population in each region," said the premier. "If it continues to increase and if we need to close for example bars or restaurants or reduce the 250 people, it will be done per part of regions, but we're not at this level right now."

Quebec's public health institute said COVID-19 spread at a dangerously high rate in the province during late August. 

The province is approaching a possibly critical threshold, said Legault, adding though, that it is not in a second wave just yet. 

The premier said at this time, there are no plans to shut down the province again – but in the future, health officials are considering creating an alert system where different regions would be colour-coded on a sliding scale based on the level of risk: a high risk zone would be red, a low-risk zone would be green.