Premier calls on Quebecers to stay home as COVID-19 hospitalizations double in two weeks

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By Katelyn Thomas

MONTREAL -- Quebec's premier is repeating a refrain by the health minister in recent days as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to worry officials.

"My message is clear and simple today. Please stay home," said Francois Legault in an afternoon press briefing. "You can go to school or to work but otherwise, please stay home."

Quebec health authorities reported 900 new cases of COVID-19 in the province on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 81,914.

Wednesday's update is the first time the province has reported fewer than 1,000 cases of the diseases in a week. 

The province is also reporting seven more deaths linked to the disease. One of them took place in the past 24 hours, four are from between Sept. 30 and Oct. 5 and two are from an unknown date, for a total of 5,906 since the start of the pandemic. 

Two of the latest deaths took place in Bas Saint Laurent, two in Quebec City, two in Gaspe and one Chaudiere-Appalaches. 

As of Wednesday, there are 409 people receiving care for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals, which is an increase in 12 from the number reported on Tuesday. Of them, 62 are in the intensive care ward, which is five less than the number reported 24 hours earlier. 

Legault said the hospitalizations are causing concern because they have doubled in two weeks.

"Our health system is already fragile. If we continue in the same way, there's a risk that we won't be able to protect ever Quebecer who needs it." he said. "My objective is not to be popular, my objective is to save the health care network."

Dube said the goal is to maintain the weekly average of 1,000 cases per day in the coming weeks and then reduce those numbers.

"My greatest wish over the next few days, would be to see over the next few days, a stabilizing of our cases," said Dube "The best thing we can do for our health professionals is show that we respect them." 

Recoveries increased by 702 from Tuesday to Wednesday, according to health officials. The total number of people who have recovered from the virus in the province now stands at 67,735 -- or 82.7 per cent of Quebec's cases. 

Quebec reported that it completed analyses of 24,399 COVID-19 tests on Oct. 5 (Quebec reports its daily testing figures from two days prior). 

Montreal reported the bulk of the province's newest cases, with 269 (total 36,207), Quebec City reported the second-most, with 132 (total 5,392), and Monteregie reported the third-most, with 111 (total 11,735). After reporting an increase of just six cases on Tuesday, the Eastern Townships reported 23 more on Wednesday (total 1,925), and Outaouais reported an increase of 49 (total 1,629). Chaudiere-Appalaches reported 73 more cases on Wednesday (total 1,809), Laval reported 64 (total 7,843) and the Laurentians, 49 (total 5,191). 

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