Montreal

Quebec has now recorded more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19

The province added 879 new cases to its tally, pushing the total to 100,114 since the start of the pandemic in the spring. A total of 6,143 people have now died in Quebec due to the novel coronavirus.

The province added 879 new cases to its tally Sunday, pushing the total to 100,114 since pandemic started

People wear face masks as they wait to enter a store in Montreal on Saturday. As of Sunday, more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Quebec. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Quebec reached a grim milestone on Sunday, passing the 100,000-mark of COVID-19 infections.

The province added 879 new cases to its tally, pushing the total to 100,114 since the first case was recorded on Feb. 27. A total of 6,143 people have now died in Quebec due to the novel coronavirus.

Quebec leads Canada in both the number of cases and number of deaths. The province with the next highest total is Ontario, with 69,331 cases.

People living in the Chaudière-Appalaches, Quebec City and Montreal regions have all been living under red zone restrictions, the highest alert level, since early October in an attempt to curb rising infection numbers.

The 28-day partial lockdown was supposed to end on Wednesday. However, Premier François Legault has said the measures will stay in place until the number of cases goes down.

In a tweet on Sunday, Health Minister Christian Dubé pointed out the number of cases have been stable for the last two weeks, but still remains high.

He has been urging Quebecers to reduce their contacts in order to lower the infection rate. 

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Cécile Tremblay said the fact cases are stable indicates the current lockdown strategy — which targets bars, restaurants, gyms, museums and social gatherings — has prevented the situation from spiraling out of control.

But she also said the measures haven't yet led to a decrease in new cases. For that reason, she expects the red-zone measures will be extended beyond Wednesday.

"We don't want to go backward. We don't want to go back to closing schools and the economy," Tremblay said. "I think an effort has to be made to look at where we can act in a more pointed way."

Tremblay said tougher restrictions could be imposed on workplaces, gatherings between family members and long-term care homes (CHSLDs).

In places such as Quebec City, currently the epicentre of the second wave in the province, the keys to getting things under control are simple, she said: wear a mask, wash your hands and keep your contacts to immediate family members and going to work or school.

Those three measures are imperfect, she said, but are proven to make a difference if they are respected.

with files from Radio-Canada

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