Quebec to provide update as tighter restrictions take hold to curb coronavirus spread

The Legault government is expected to provide an update Thursday afternoon on the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeping the province.

Three more deaths have been recorded in Quebec — including the first in Montreal — bringing the total to seven fatalities.

As of Wednesday, 1,339 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the province and nearly half of them are in Montreal. There are 78 people in hospital and 34 of them are in intensive care.

Premier François Legault said Quebecers are in the battle of their lives and he reiterated his call for people to stay home.

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“Every action we take will bring us closer to victory,” he said.

In Montreal, public health officials confirmed there is an outbreak of the illness in two locations: a long-term care centre, or CHSLD, and a health-care facility.

A paramedic with Urgences-santé has also tested positive for the disease. The medical service, which serves Montreal and Laval, said in a statement that the man has been in self-isolation since he experienced symptoms and he is doing well.

The jump in cases has prompted the government to tighten restrictions to curb COVID-19. All non-essential businesses are physically closed until April 13.

In Gatineau, police handed down a $1,000 fine to a group of people not respecting social distancing on Wednesday night.

A new drive-thru testing centre is also opening in Côte Saint-Luc, an on-island suburb of Montreal, where several people have tested positive for COVID-19. The city declared a state of emergency last week and officials have been urging people to stay home.

— With files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier and the Canadian Press

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