MONTREAL -- As malls welcome customers for the first time in months this weekend and other restrictions continue to be lifted, Quebec public health authorities announced Saturday that 124 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 33 more people have died.

The total number of positive cases in the province is now 54,674, and 5,408 people have died since the crisis began.

Of the deaths reported Saturday, 18 were from the past 24 hours and 15 occured before June 12, according to the province.

The number of hospitalizations continues to drop with 45 fewer patients receiving treatment in the province's hospitals Saturday for a total of 529. Of those, 62 people are in the intensive care ward, the same number as Friday.

Of those who tested positive, 229 more have recovered as of Saturday for a total of 23,201

Quebec health professionals analysed 9,870 samples June 17, and have carried out 557,481 tests since the crisis began. Quebec releases its analysis data from two days ago in its daily updates.

Quebec's Finance Minister Eric Girard said Friday that the first three months of the pandemic have hit the province's economy hard and it could take five years to recover. He estimates the damage will create a record $14.9 billion deficit for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.