Quebec Premier Francois Legault isn’t yet ready to commit to a COVID-19 Christmas plan as the province attempts to hold back a second wave of the novel coronavirus.
Quebec reported 1,218 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and 25 more deaths attributed to the virus, six of which had occurred in the previous 24 hours.
Legault said case numbers had appeared to plateau at around 1,000 for several weeks after the province last month closed bars, restaurant dining rooms and gyms in so-called red zones with high infection rates.
But over the past week, the province has averaged 1,297 new cases a day, with a high of 1,448 reported on Saturday.
“The good news is about the hospitalizations,” Legault told a news conference Monday. “We’re still under 600, which is a lot less when we compare ourselves with other states in the United States or in Europe.”
Monday’s figures show hospitalizations rose by four, to 591, and 87 people were in intensive care, a drop of two. Officials said another 1,150 people had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total to 105,998.
The evolving situation is under close scrutiny as the province attempts to forecast what the COVID-19 situation might look like when the province enters the Christmas holiday period.
The premier acknowledged that, as reported by Radio-Canada, the province is looking at shutting schools from mid-December to mid-January and loosening current restrictions to allow gatherings of up to 10 people from three addresses. But he stressed that was just one possible scenario.
Legault said the Christmas plan might not come this week. The province’s tougher red-zone COVID-19 rules are in effect until next Monday.
“So far, it’s going … not bad, I should say with our health-care system,” Legault said. “So for now, I think it’s OK. We’re still in control, but we follow the evolution every day.”
Quebec has reported 125,072 infections and 6,651 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.
Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter the infection rate is improving in some regions, but more needs to be done to break the current wave of the virus.
Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.