Quebec reports more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases, 48 deaths, the latest uptick in surge

The number appears to be driven by increases in Montreal and Quebec City, continuing a worrisome trend with hundreds of people dying due to the virus in the last month and hundreds more in hospital.

The number appears to be driven by increases in Montreal and Quebec City

Quebec has recorded more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Quebec is reporting more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19, the first time since the start of the pandemic and the latest uptick in a surge that dates back to the last week of November.

In addition to 2,031 new cases, the province is also reporting 48 new deaths, continuing a worrisome trend with hundreds of people dying due to the virus in the last month and hundreds more in hospital.

The number appears to be driven by increases in Montreal (630 cases) and Quebec City (304 cases). The province initially reported that the total increase was the result of testing from the previous 24 hours, but it now appears the figure could also include cases from earlier in the week.

According to the website for the province's public health research institute, the INSPQ, Saturday's numbers may be partly explained by a backlog of confirmed cases from the previous day.

The note has since been taken down.

"The system in which people put in information regarding new cases slowed down," said Dr. Gaston De Serres, an epidemiologist at the INSPQ. "So yesterday, we had a little less cases than what we were supposed to have, and today we have a little more cases than what we are supposed to have."

The INSPQ has not specified the number of cases that should have been added on top of the 1,345 infections reported Friday. A request for comment from Quebec's Health Ministry has not been returned.

Quebec Premier François Legault on Thursday cancelled plans to allow Christmas gatherings in the province's red zones, just a few weeks after announcing that Quebecers could get together twice in groups of up to 10 people between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27.

Since the premier's announcement, the provincial government has not announced any new measures to contain the spread of the virus.

On Saturday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé tweeted the latest coronavirus numbers, adding that "it is not the moment to relax our efforts from the last months, it is with everyone's collaboration that we will be able to stop the propagation of the virus."

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