'Too soon' to say whether 28-day semi-lockdown will lift on Oct. 28, Arruda says

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By Selena Ross, CTV News Montreal

MONTREAL -- Despite some hopeful signs and an apparent "stabilizing" of case numbers, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said on Tuesday, several regions of the province are now being moved to red zone rules.

And Quebec's Public Health Director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said it is "too soon" to discuss what will happen on Oct. 28, after the 28-day semi-lockdown for Montreal and some other regions was originally scheduled to lift.

The two leaders made the comments in their daily COVID-19 update, the first after the long weekend.

All of Monteregie, Centre du Quebec and the Quebec City region, including Charlevoix, are all turning red, the premier said.

New case counts were under 900 on Monday and Tuesday, the lowest numbers in a week.

"Things seem to be stabilizing.. we don't seem to be going towards 1,500 or 2,000 cases," Legault said.

"So, once again, it's too early to celebrate, but... there's reason to believe that the efforts we're making are bearing fruit."

Still, the province is seeing a worrisome spread of cases outside of major cities, necessitating the move to red for the regions in question, he said.

One region is also moving to orange zone rules: The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

The new rules were likely to go into effect on Friday, Legault said, though he was scheduled to be followed by health authorities with more details.

Legault also encouraged Quebecers to download the COVID-19 tracing app and, most of all, to limit their gatherings as much as possible and follow the rules.

"The most important thing to do is reduce indoor gatherings," he said.

He repeated several times that the virus can spread easily in small, indoor spaces, even if people remain two metres apart.

"Even if you're two metres away, it's possible to infect people, especially if we are in a room for more than 15 minutes," he said.

He said these "sacrifices" are necessary to save lives, to keep Quebec kids in school and to limit the pressure on health-care providers. Everyone should keep in mind, he said, that they could be the next person to get sick and need hospital care.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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