Two-thirds of Winnipeg cases are more contagious coronavirus variants as 108 new cases reported in Manitoba

Monday's update comes after the province saw high numbers over the weekend, including the highest single-day increase since January.

Manitoba and Winnipeg's 5-day test positivity rate rises to 5.7%

Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate was 3.9 per cent at the beginning of the month, and rose to 5.6 per cent on Sunday. (Brittany Murray/The Orange County Register/The Associated Press)

Manitoba is reporting 108 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths today as the province announced it's tightening public health restrictions.

Most of the new COVID-19 cases announced Monday were in the Winnipeg health region, which posted 63 new infections.

Two-thirds of recent cases in Winnipeg are more contagious coronavirus variants, Manitoba's chief public health officer said at a news conference on Monday.

Across the province, 25 per cent of all positive tests from the week of April 4-10 involved concerning coronavirus variants, up from about 15 per cent the previous week, an epidemiology report shows.

"We see what is happening in other jurisdictions, we need to ensure we can do whatever we can here in Manitoba to keep that from happening here, while at the same we're vaccinating our population," Dr. Brent Roussin said.

"We're now dealing with a virus that transmits easier and is even more severe, requiring more hospital admissions, more ICU admissions."

Elsewhere, there are 18 new cases in the Southern Health region, 12 in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 10 in the Prairie Mountain Health region and five in the Northern health region.

WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin says new rules are the last step before lockdown:

Dr. Brent Roussin says new pandemic rules are "last chance" to flatten 3rd wave curve

1 year ago
Duration 0:55
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, said Monday new orders set to take effect Tuesday are the province's last opportunity to get the third wave of COVID-19 under control without another more serious lockdown.

Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate is continuing its upward trajectory. On Monday it went up to 5.7 per cent, from 5.6 per cent on Sunday. In Winnipeg, that rate rose to 5.7 per cent from 5.5.

Too many close contacts: Roussin

Roussin cautioned Manitobans to reduce their number of close contacts to prevent the spread of the virus and its variants.

In the province's most recent epidemiology report, it's noted that one person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Prairie Mountain Health region had 133 contacts.

"We've seen some concerning trends. Our contact tracers are reporting that cases are having growing number of contacts. They're reporting individuals holding larger group gatherings, both indoor and outdoor," Roussin said.

That has impacts on other age groups, he said.

"We're seeing more cases linked to long-term care homes and schools," Roussin said, adding that cases among people in their 20s, as well as children and teens, are growing.

He also said there's at least one cluster linked to travel over spring break.

Outbreak announced in Dauphin

There are still 132 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, the province said. Of those, 30 are in intensive care, down by three from Sunday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 36,267 COVID-19 cases identified in Manitoba, of which 1,685 are considered active and 33,623 are recovered.

On Sunday, 2,491 COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba, bringing the number of swabs completed in the province to 624,868 since early February 2020.

The province has also declared an outbreak at the Dauphin Personal Care Home in Dauphin. 

This update comes after the province saw 170 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and 183 new cases the day before. Saturday marked the highest single-day increase since Jan. 24.

In addition, a First Nation in Manitoba's Interlake announced its first case of a highly contagious coronavirus variant.

Fisher River Cree Nation was told of an on-reserve B117 case and is taking steps to ensure nobody else is exposed. As of Monday, there are three active cases of COVID-19 in the community, up from one on Sunday.

There were 710 cases of variants of concern reported Saturday on the province's variant dashboard, up from 704 on Friday. Of those, 287 were considered active.

Provincial data on variants of concern is updated from Tuesday to Saturday.

As of Monday, 341,926 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered and 24.8 per cent of the adult population had received at least one dose, provincial data said.

The province announced Monday Manitobans between the ages of 40 and 55 can now get the AstraZeneca-Oxford coronavirus vaccine from a doctor or pharmacist.

Manitobans can find the most convenient place to get the Astra-Zeneca vaccine by going to the province's website.

The general eligibility to be immunized at a supersite or pop-up clinic — for any vaccine — has been lowered to those aged 54 or older and for First Nation people aged 34 or older.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | April 19, 2021: