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Quebec records 1,502 new coronavirus cases, 66 additional deaths

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Quebec wants Ottawa to ban non-essential travel' Coronavirus: Quebec wants Ottawa to ban non-essential travel
Premier François Legault is calling on Ottawa to ban non-essential international travel. – Jan 19, 2021

Quebec is reporting 1,502 new cases and 66 additional deaths Wednesday as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The majority of the new infections were reported in Montreal and neighbouring regions. Officials reported 629 cases in Montreal, 199 in the Montérégie region and 148 in Laval.

Health authorities say 10 of the newly reported deaths occurred in the past 24 hours, while the other fatalities have been retroactively added to the death toll.

Hospitalizations linked to the coronavirus health crisis dropped. The number of patients in hospitals across the province stands at 1,467, a decrease of 33 from the previous day.

Read more: Quebec premier urges feds to ban non-essential international flights to fight COVID-19

Of those patients, four more are in intensive care for a total of 216.

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Health Minister Christian Dubé addressed the situation in the province on social media, asking the public to continue abiding by public health measures aimed at stamping out COVID-19.

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“For several months, Quebecers have been asked to limit their contacts in order to bring down the number of cases, which will bring down the number of deaths and hospitalizations,” he wrote. “Let’s continue our efforts to fight this virus.”

The COVID-19 caseload, which remains the highest in Canada, has reached 247,236. Meanwhile, recoveries stand at 219,592.

READ MORE: Montreal mayor calls on premier to exempt homeless from COVID-19 curfew

The health crisis has led to the deaths of 9,208 Quebecers since last March. The province’s staggering death toll accounts for roughly half of Canada’s pandemic-related fatalities.

The province gave 28,889 tests Monday, the latest day for which data is available. More than 5.5 million tests have been administered since the pandemic began.

When it comes to vaccination, 10,207 doses were provided Tuesday for a total of 174,206. The province’s campaign, which launched last month, has mostly focused on residents in long-term care homes and health-care employees. The rollout is also getting underway in some remote areas.

Quebec has, however, adjusted its short-term plan for vaccination after Pfizer announced there will be delays in shipments over the next four weeks. On Tuesday, Dubé said the government now expects to vaccinate 225,000 people by Feb. 8 instead of 250,000.

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With files from The Canadian Press