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COVID-19: Quebec reports nearly 700 new cases as infections continue to surge amid second wave

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Quebec reports nearly 700 new cases as infections continue to surge amid second wave' Coronavirus: Quebec reports nearly 700 new cases as infections continue to surge amid second wave
WATCH: Quebec reports nearly 700 new cases as infections continue to surge amid second wave – Sep 26, 2020

Health authorities reported 698 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday — the highest single-day tally since May — as the number of infections continues to surge in Quebec.

Seven more deaths were also reported, which occurred between Sept. 19 and 24. This brings the total COVID-19 death toll to 5,821 in the province.

Hospitalizations have gone up by 18 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 217 — 45 of which are in intensive care (up two from Friday).

According to public health’s latest data, 33,148 tests were conducted on Sept. 24. Quebec has so far administered 2,233,455 tests since the beginning of the health crisis.

Quebec has seen 71,005 positive novel coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Quebec health authorities ask residents to limit social gatherings for 28 days' Coronavirus: Quebec health authorities ask residents to limit social gatherings for 28 days
Coronavirus: Quebec health authorities ask residents to limit social gatherings for 28 days – Sep 25, 2020

Quebec asks citizens to stop social gatherings to ‘break’ second coronavirus wave

On Friday Quebec health officials asked all citizens to limit their social gatherings for 28 days as the number of novel coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to increase amid the second wave of the pandemic.

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“We’re asking you for a month of effort to break the second wave,” said Health Minister Christian Dubé.

The plea comes as the province surpassed the grim milestone of 70,000 cases of COVID-19 on Sept. 25.

The government also raised the alert level to orange for the entire Greater Montreal area, including the north and south shores. The designation calls for moderate alert and tighter restrictions for 82 municipalities.

READ MORE: Quebec asks citizens to stop social gatherings for 28 days to ‘break’ second coronavirus wave

Dubé said the evolving situation in Montreal, which has been the epicentre of the virus’s outbreak in Canada, remains worrying as the second wave of the virus begins.

Quebec has not yet placed any regions in the red zone, the highest alert level which calls for stricter controls, but Dubé stressed everyone — regardless of where they live — must do their part to limit the spread of the virus and cap community transmission.

This means cancelling social outings such as dinners, parties and barbecues, he said, in order to avoid another surge in cases and a possible second lockdown. The government is not planning on closing bars or restaurants for now.

Dubé said the government is not planning on closing bars or restaurants for now, partly to avoid driving people to hold more private events.

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–With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise

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Coronavirus: Health minister urges Quebecers to cancel plans for gatherings – Sep 24, 2020