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Quebec reported 30 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Friday and a 67-patient drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The Health Department said 1,754 people were hospitalized with the disease after 92 patients were admitted in the past 24 hours and 159 were discharged. There were 59 patients in intensive care, a drop of one.

The latest data came as the province’s mask mandate for indoor public spaces was set to lift just after midnight. Masking will remain mandatory in health-care settings and on public transit.

Health Minister Christian Dube said Friday he has confidence in Quebecers’ ability to navigate the new rules and noted that public health officials have given their approval to lift the measure.

The province was the last to remove the indoor mask obligation, and Dube said officials would revisit the remaining masking orders after further studies.

Dube described the coming weeks as a transition period for Quebec, where masking has been mandatory in indoor public places since July 2020.

“I think we are at the stage of the pandemic where we can remove the (masking) obligation, except for specific sectors,” Dube said. “We want to be prudent, especially in those three or four sectors.”

Authorities reported 900 new COVID-19 cases detected through restricted PCR testing, with 7.6 per cent of tests administered Thursday coming back positive.

There were 6,115 health network employees off the job due to COVID-19.

The province has recorded 15,256 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

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