MONTREAL - Quebec reported 679 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Saturday, as Premier François Legault expressed hope on social media that the worst of the fourth wave had passed.

Officials reported hospitalizations rose by eight to 309, after 34 patients entered hospital and 26 were discharged. Seventy-eight patients were listed in intensive care, a drop of one.

Of the new cases, 460 were among people not considered adequately vaccinated.

The Quebec Health Department reported 90 per cent of the population aged 12 and older have received a first dose and 86 per cent have both shots. The province said it vaccinated 11,508 people on Friday, including more than 7,600 second doses.

Legault highlighted the high vaccination rate and adherence to strict conditions in a Facebook post on Saturday ahead of a new session at the national assembly, which is to begin Tuesday.

The premier didn't provide details, but said an inaugural speech would look at the post-pandemic period.

"The good news is that we are really coming out of the worst of the pandemic," he wrote, noting also that 93 per cent of those in the 12 to 17 age bracket have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Legault acknowledged the health network remains fragile due to a lack of staff, but said the province is working to resolve that.

"The virus is still there and there are still people ending up in the hospital," he wrote. "But I trust the worst is behind us."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2021.

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