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Coronavirus: Quebec reports 1,259 new cases, 32 additional deaths as hospitalizations drop

A woman adjusts her mask while she waits in line as the city's public health unit holds a walk-in clinic testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Montreal, March 23, 2020.
A woman adjusts her mask while she waits in line as the city's public health unit holds a walk-in clinic testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Montreal, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo

Quebec is reporting 1,259 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of people infected since the beginning of the pandemic to 129,699.

The province reported 32 additional deaths attributable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, with nine of those deaths occurring in the last 24 hours.

To date, a total of 6,774 Quebecers have died of the illness, more than any other province in Canada.

Read more: Quebec government outlines holiday plans with schools to close early to allow for 4 days of family gatherings

Hospitalizations are down slightly with a total of 624 patients, for a decrease of 27. Of those, 96 are in intensive care, five fewer than Thursday.

On Thursday, Quebec Premier François Legault outlined his government’s plans for the holiday season that would allow for four days of family gatherings of maximum 10 people, from Dec. 24 to Dec. 27.

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The plan includes a modified school schedule and a voluntary confinement period of one week before and after the set dates.

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The premier warned, however, that the situation in the province has to remain under control for holiday gatherings to go ahead.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Quebec to allow gatherings from Dec. 24-27, schools move to online learning before winter break' Coronavirus: Quebec to allow gatherings from Dec. 24-27, schools move to online learning before winter break
Coronavirus: Quebec to allow gatherings from Dec. 24-27, schools move to online learning before winter break – Nov 19, 2020

Quebec’s director of public health Dr. Horacio Arruda specified an epidemiological analysis will be required to determine if the plan can go ahead, but essentially the goal is to keep the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths below current levels.

The deciding factor ultimately will be the health-care system’s ability to cope with the crisis, according to Arruda.

Quebecers will know for certain by Dec. 17 whether they will be permitted to gather for the Christmas holidays, public health officials said during a technical briefing on Friday.

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They acknowledged, however, that allowing get-togethers isn’t without risk but said people would probably have done it regardless. So by providing a framework, authorities believe Quebecers might be more inclined to follow the recommendations.

Read more: Online learning spurred by pandemic takes toll on university students and teachers in Montreal

Health authorities say 34,703 tests were given on Nov. 18, the latest day for which that information is available.

Recoveries stand at 111,326.

— With files from The Canadian Press’ Jacob Serebrin