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Quebec reported over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the third straight day on Sunday, public health officials said, as the province moved three more towns to the highest pandemic alert level.

In a statement Sunday afternoon, the Quebec government said the towns of Maria, Carleton-sur-Mer and Nouvelle, Que., in the Gaspesie region, will move to the red COVID-19 alert level as of 11:59 p.m. Monday.

“Over the past few days, we’ve noted a worrying increase in confirmed cases in certain sectors of Gaspesie,” Health Minister Christian Dube said. “We absolutely need to slow transmission.”

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Several regions across Quebec are also at the highest alert level, including Montreal and Quebec City, as public health officials try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid a recent uptick in confirmed cases. The government last week ordered a series of lockdown measures for those areas.

Quebec reported 1,079 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, the third day in a row that the province has crossed the 1,000-case mark.

It reported 1,107 new cases on Saturday and 1,052 new cases on Friday.

Authorities also reported 12 additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Sunday: two of those deaths took place in the past 24 hours, nine occurred between Sept. 27-Oct. 2, and another death took place at an unspecified date.

Quebec has now recorded 78,459 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began and 5,878 total deaths, after one previous death mistakenly attributed to the virus was removed from the total.

Hospitalizations went up by eight cases across the province, for a total of 334.

Of those, 64 people were in intensive care – an increase of four from the previous day.

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The province said it conducted 27,453 COVID-19 tests on Friday, the last date for which the testing data is available.

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