MONTREAL -- Quebec health authorities reported 1,464 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in the province since the start of the pandemic to 136,894. Of them, 11,456 are active.

Premier Francois Legault said vaccinations should be coming in January.

Thursday's update is the highest single-day increase the province has reported since the pandemic began, and the province's seven-day average now stands at about 1,208 new cases of COVID-19 per day. 

Quebec also reported another 32 deaths linked to the disease. Eight were from the past 24 hours and 19 were reported between Nov. 19 to 24. Another five people died before Nov. 19, for a total of 6,947 deaths in Quebec since the start of the pandemic.

Six of those deaths were reported in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (111 total); five in Monteregie (852 total) and three in Quebec City (421 total) as well as in the Eastern Townships (60 total) and Montreal (3,603 total).

The following regions also reported two deaths each: Outaouais (78 total), Chaudiere-Appalaches (127 total), Laval (725 total), Lanaudiere (314 total), and the Laurentians (333 total).

Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Quebec (260 total) and Gaspesie-Magdalen Islands (40 total) reported one death each.

The City of Montreal reported the most new cases of any Quebec region on Thursday, with 336 (total 49,584), followed by Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, with 211 (total 4,725), Monteregie, with 187 (total 19,387) and Quebec City, with 139 (total 11,189).

Hospitalizations also increased by 20 from Wednesday to Thursday and there are now 675 people receiving treatment for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals. Of them, 90 are in the intensive care ward, which is three less than the number reported on Wednesday. 

As of Thursday, 940 more people have recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 118,491 across the province.

Quebec reported that it completed analyses of 33,023 COVID-19 tests on Nov. 24 (Quebec reports its daily testing figures from two days prior). 


Legault said the province hopes to have a vaccine ready for deployment by January.

"With the vaccination, there is hope, but the battle is not over," he said.

Legault added that Quebec is waiting on Ottawa to determine the number of vaccinations the province will get.

Once they are ready, vaccinations will be administered by priority with CHSLD workers and older people at the front of the queue. 

"We’ll first vaccinate people in senior homes, health workers and elderly, but we're still waiting on Ottawa for the exact moment and the quantities," he said. "There is hope, with the vaccine, but we have to stay very careful. We must continue all our efforts to save lives."

Director of public health Horacio Arruda said even if there are anti-vaccination campaigns against the treatment, he is confident Quebecers will be receptive.

"It's based in communication and getting into mobilization of communities to really explain the situation," said Arruda. "There's always going to be some resistent people but if we convince the maximum, that'll be a good situation."


Legault returned to the "moral contract" with Quebecers where gatherings are permitted. Originally, the premier said he planned to allow gatherings for four days, but, after consulting public health, determined two gatherings would be the maximum.

"We asked Quebecers to hold a maximum of two gatherings between December 24 and 27, with a maximum of 10 people," he said. "This is the recommendation of public health authorities. And as I've been doing since the beginning of the pandemic. I'm following their advice."

The more complicated part, Legault said, is being prudent the week leading up to Christmas, and staying home as much as possible.

He added for those working leading up to Christmas need to try to respect the two-metre distancing order and to wear a face mask.

"I know they are people who have to work, people who have been working very hard for the past nine months, but we have no magic answer," he said. "We need to minimize the risk as much as possible. We also need to keep the pandemic under control, until Christmas. If our numbers increase too much. We won't allow gatherings, so we're following the situation very closely every day."