Quebec reported its highest daily COVID-19 cases on Saturday with 3,127 new infections, as well as 41 additional deaths related to the novel coronavirus.
Of the new deaths, health authorities say 12 occurred in the last 24 hours, 24 happened between Jan. 2 and Jan. 7, and five occurred prior to Jan. 2.
This brings the death toll in the province to 8,647.
Officials say the number of hospitalizations decreased by 11 compared to Friday, for a total of 1,392 — 206 of which are in intensive care.
The new cases bring the cumulative number of COVID-19 infections in Quebec to 226,233 since the pandemic began. Public health says 192,979 people have recovered.
At least 38,700 tests were administered on Jan. 7 — the last date for which testing data is available. The number of tests that have been conducted in Quebec is now at 5,160,611.
The case surge continues as the province’s new curfew measures are set to begin Saturday evening.
Premier François Legault said the curfew is necessary to prevent the health-care system from reaching a tipping point that could leave the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients without necessary care.
Legault issued a statement on Saturday urging Quebecers to comply with the new measures.
Anyone out between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. could face police questions and stiff fines between $1,000 to $6,000.
Under the rules, grocery stores and convenience stores will have to close at 7:30 p.m. in order to allow workers and customers to get home. Stores connected to gas stations can stay open to serve essential workers.
The province administered 13,101 vaccines on Friday, bringing the total number of people who have been inoculated in Quebec to 75,123.
While vaccination is progressing, Legault said it will be weeks before those most at risk have been inoculated.
“We need a collective effort, from everyone, for one month. Our battle is coming to an end, and like in a long marathon, it is the last kilometres that are the hardest.”
–With files from The Canadian Press