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Quebec records 39 new COVID-19 deaths as cases approach the 13,000-mark

MONTREAL — Quebec recorded its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in over a week on Sunday, even as health officials announced 39 new deaths.

The increase of 554 new cases, to 12,846, is the smallest increase since March 31, though the death toll continued to soar — from 289 to 328.

There were also 46 new hospitalizations, for an overall total of 824, including 217 in intensive care, which is six more than on Saturday.

Government officials took a day off from their daily briefings for Easter Sunday, but said in a statement that they were pleased by the overall progress despite the new deaths.

"The Quebec government is encouraged by the controlled development of the virus' spread and the number of new hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care," the statement read. 

"The figures reveal that Quebecers' efforts are achieving the anticipated results but, above all, that they must be strictly maintained."

The news came as the virus continued its rampage through the province's seniors' residences and long-term care homes, which account for a number of outbreaks and deaths.

Those include a long-term care facility in Laval, north of the city, where 22 people have died and 113 have tested positive in one of the country's largest outbreaks.

Earlier Sunday, the Quebec coroners' office announced it would investigate a private long-term care home in Dorval, west of the city, where 31 people have died since March 13. At least five deaths are due to the virus.

The Residence Herron was eventually placed under trusteeship after health authorities visited on March 29 and found that staff had walked off the job, with some residents in soiled diapers and in need of food or water.

In a statement, the Legault government said inspectors would visit 40 other private care facilities in the coming days to avoid another similar situation.

In Montreal, which passed the 6,000-case mark on Sunday, there were outbreaks in 40 out of 294 seniors' establishments as of Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2020

The Canadian Press

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