Quebec is reporting 1,685 new COVID-19 cases Saturday as daily counts continue to decline.
The province is also reporting 76 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 9,437. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped by 43 to 1,383.
The drop in case numbers comes after the Quebec government implemented an 8 p.m. curfew province-wide on Jan. 9.
Premier François Legault attributed the decline to the curfew, but has said hospitals are too full to lift the new restrictions as scheduled on Feb. 8.
On Saturday, Legault released a message on his Facebook page in which he said he recognized that Quebecers were frustrated with the restrictions, but called for empathy for essential workers, who he said are bearing the brunt of much of people’s frustration.
“This is normal, given all the upheaval we’re going through,” Legault said. “People are more impatient. At times, we have a bit of a short fuse.”
The premier added that there were encouraging signs that the situation in the province would improve soon, noting that Quebec finished vaccinating people living in long-term care homes this week, as well as 130,000 health-care workers.
The Quebec government expects hospitalizations and case numbers to drop over the course of the next few weeks, Legault said.
“There is hope on the horizon,” he said.
As of Saturday, at least 225,245 people in Quebec have recovered from COVID-19.