Quebec is reporting 1,345 new cases of the novel coronavirus Friday, bringing the province’s total to 147,877.
There are 28 additional deaths, including five in the past 24 hours. Health authorities say the other fatalities occurred earlier and have been retroactively added to the total.
Since March, the health crisis has led to the deaths of 7,183 Quebecers. It remains the highest death toll in the country.
Hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 climbed by 24 to 761. Of those patients, 97 are being treated in intensive care, two fewer than the previous day.
Health Minister Christian Dubé says the spike in hospitalizations is the result of an uptick in new infections in recent days.
“Now is not the time to relax,” he wrote on social media. “We are in the home stretch of our marathon.”
The latest screening information shows 35,111 tests were given Wednesday and the province has topped four million tests since the pandemic began.
Quebec has surpassed 127,000 recoveries to date.
Projections show coronavirus cases rising among seniors
The Institut national d’excellence en sante et en services sociaux says the number of COVID-19 cases among those 80 and older has been increasing over the past three weeks, with the virus increasingly striking those at a higher risk of hospitalization.
In its latest weekly projections released Friday, the Quebec government-funded health institute points out that hospital capacity should be sufficient in Montreal in the coming weeks.
The situation remains more precarious for hospitals in other regions, however.
“This situation remains worrying, which is why we must all continue our efforts to bring down the number of cases,” Dubé wrote on Twitter.
It says that overall, the number of new cases in Quebec last week was up 12 per cent compared to the previous week, with the jump concentrated largely in the Greater Montreal area.