Quebec reported 114 more deaths linked to COVID-19 on Saturday ahead of the province’s planned phased reopening set to begin Monday.
The province now has 2,136 recorded deaths since the coronavirus pandemic hit the province.
The Health Department said in a statement there were an additional 1,008 confirmed cases, bringing the number of those infected to 29,656.
On Saturday, 1,738 COIVD-19 patients in the province were in hospital, with 222 of those requiring treatment in intensive care.
The province’s political and public health officials did not hold an availability on Saturday, but Premier Francois Legault had warned in his last public briefing Thursday that with more than 4,400 long-term care and seniors’ homes residents infected with the novel coronavirus, the number of deaths would continue to rise.
About 80 per cent of the province’s deaths have occurred mainly in long-term care residences and seniors’ homes.
“Obviously, we will do everything to try to save as much as possible, but at some point we have to be realistic,” Legault said. “It is certain that there will continue to be many deaths, unfortunately, in the coming days and weeks.”
Montreal and the surrounding region has been the epicentre of the province’s COVID-19 cases and deaths. Of the number of confirmed cases, 14,559 cases are in Montreal, which has also accounted for 1,312 of the province’s deaths — about 61 per cent.
The City of Montreal announced Saturday it was extending a state of health emergency, in place since March 27, until May 5.
Quebec has announced plans to gradually reopen daycares, elementary schools, retail businesses, construction and manufacturing gradually during the month of May — all with physical distancing rules in effect.
The province announced plans Friday to ramp up testing to roughly 14,000 tests per day — 100,000 tests per week — in anticipation of the gradual resumption of activities.
Authorities are staggering opening dates between the rest of the province and hard-hit greater Montreal.
Quebec aims to open retail stores outside Montreal on Monday while those in the greater Montreal region are to reopen May 11, as long as they have their own dedicated entrance.
Malls will remain closed and most stores will close Sundays in May with the exception of convenience stores, pharmacies, gas stations, restaurant take-out counters and grocery deliveries.