During his daily address on Thursday, Premier François Legault noted that the province “is exactly in line with our predictions, so we are getting close to the peak.” As such, a sharp increase in the number of deaths in the last 24 hours was not a surprise. Legault expressed his sympathies to the 41 new families grieving the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19. The province now has 10,912 positive cases of the virus, an increase of 881, with 679 people now in hospital including 196 in intensive care. In Montérégie, the number of positive cases increased by 74 to 1,108. Of those, there are 61 individuals who have been hospitalized. A total of 11 people lost their lives as a result of the virus. According to the Direction de Santé Publique de la Montérégie, 41 percent of the positive COVID-19 cases in the region can be attributed to direct or close contact with someone who was contagious, 30 percent of cases were related to travel, and 29 percent were infected by community transmission. The public health authority is reporting that individuals who are between the age of 50 and 59 years have the highest rate of infection at 21 percent. Those aged between 40 and 49 years represent the group with the second highest infection rate at 19 percent. Individuals who are 70 years and older represent 11 percent of those infected. The regional public health authority released a number of statistics on the COVID-19 virus specific to the Montérégie. (PHOTO: Direction de Santé Publique de la Montérégie) A map was also released today depicting the number of cases for around 40 municipalities within the Montérégie that have more than five cases. In municipalities reporting fewer than five cases, in order to protect the anonymity of those who are COVID-19 positive, the number of cases was not made public. All 13 of the municipalities in the Haut-Saint-Laurent, as well as Hemmingford, Sainte-Martine, Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka, and Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague are listed as having fewer than cases of the virus. There are 24 cases in Mercier, a total of 50 in Chateauguay, 18 in Beauharnois, 27 in Valleyfield, and 40 in Vaudreuil-Dorion. A screenshot of the map released by the public health authority shows the number of cases per municipality in the region. (PHOTO: Direction de Santé Publique de la Montérégie) Once again, Legault was cautiously optimistic. He again broached the subject of relaunching the economy; but suggested that any move would be done in phases, and he noted, restaurants will not be in the first phase. This is because the two-metre space margin required to protect against the virus is not possible to maintain while dining together. “Normal life, where you can hug your mother, or grandmother, will not return tomorrow. It will be months,” he suggested. Prime Minister Trudeau was equally grim in his assessment of the situation, suggesting it could be 6 to 18 months before life returns to normal, and this will depend on the release of a vaccine. Health Canada released projections for the country this morning that suggest Canadians should brace for between 11,000 and 22,000 deaths from the virus. Trudeau also reported that the Canadian economy lost more than a million jobs in March, to push the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. The vast majority of the jobs were lost in the sales and service sector (625,000 jobs), while the education, law, community, government sector also saw significant losses (137,500).