1 coronavirus variant case, 54 others identified in Manitoba

Manitoba has 54 more cases of COVID-19 and one more person has died from the virus.

5-day test positivity rate hits 3% for first time since October

Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer for Manitoba, says it's important people keep following public health rules even though cases of COVID-19 are declining in the province. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Manitoba has 54 more cases of COVID-19 and one more person has died from the virus.

Another case of the B1351 variant that was first identified in South Africa has been confirmed. The case was found in the Winnipeg region.

There are now nine confirmed cases involving more transmissible coronavirus variants in the province. 

No details were given on whether the new case is travel-related, but Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer for Manitoba, said the province doesn't believe there is any risk to the public from any of the cases of more transmissible COVID-19 variants. 

"I know a number of these are related to travel and I believe those cases have been closed already," he said during a news conference Friday. 

The five-day test positivity rate is three per cent in Manitoba and 2.4 per cent in Winnipeg. The province's test positivity rate hasn't been that low since Oct. 10. 

The death announced Friday was a woman in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Golden Links Lodge.

The majority of the new cases are in the Northern Health Region, where 33 cases were identified. There are 14 in the Winnipeg area, four in the Southern Health region, two in the Interlake-Eastern health region and one in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

There are 171 people in the hospital with COVID-19, with 24 in intensive care units.

This morning, the federal government announced the approval of the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine in Canada.

The vaccine, developed by the U.S. health-care giant's pharmaceutical subsidiary, Janssen Inc., is the fourth to be approved in Canada.

In addition, Manitoba health officials said they now expect to be able to give every eligible Manitoban at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of June at the latest, after making the decision to delay second doses.

Manitoba has seen declining case numbers in recent weeks and a new public health order with loosened restrictions comes into effect Friday allowing most businesses to reopen and larger outdoor gatherings, among other changes.

Still, Atwal stressed that Manitobans have to keep limited their interactions with those outside their household. 

"When you look at one sector specifically, it might be easy to say, this is a low-risk activity, there's only a handful of people here. But you have to put a multiple on that," he said. 

"You have to look at every place being open right now, and there's a lot of places being opened and that will have an impact on the number of interactions one person can have versus a whole family could have." 

WATCH | Province has 'pushed the envelope' to loose restrictions, says Dr. Jazz Atwal:

Dr. Jazz Atwal says province has 'pushed the envelope' to loosen pandemic restrictions

CBC News Manitoba

5 months ago
Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer for Manitoba, said Friday the province has taken significant steps to reopen, but caution is still needed. 1:16

Though case numbers may be trending down, there are still many people in the hospital with COVID-19, making restrictions necessary, he said. 

"That still has an impact on our acute care system. We're still shifting workers away from their regular positions to work in the ICU at this point. That impacts people's ability to access surgeries or diagnostics, et cetera." 


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