MONTREAL -- Quebec health authorities reported 2,038 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the highest single-day jump since the start of the pandemic.

The previous high of 2,031 was set on Dec. 5.

The new cases bring Quebec's total number to 174,839 since the start of the pandemic.

The new record comes just a day after Health Minister Christian Dube warned Quebecers that beds for COVID patients are being set up in hotels and reception halls as many hospitals are in a critical state and operating above capacity. 

Of those, 149,245 have recovered. Another 44 deaths due to the disease were reported Saturday, bringing the total to 7,715. Of the new deaths, two occurred in the past 24 hours. Thirty-nine occurred between Dec. 12 and Dec. 17, while another two occurred before Dec. 12 and one occurred at an unknown date.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Quebec decreased by six from the previous day and now stands at 1,005. Of those, 142 are in intensive care, an increase of one.

In total, there are 17,879 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

The provincial health authorities said 715 doses of vaccine were administered on Friday, bringing the province's total to 4,020.