85 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Manitoba Saturday

Manitoba snapped a days-long string of record COVID-19 increases on Friday, when 75 new cases were reported.

Possible exposures inside Blueline Taxi between Oct. 3 and 9, public health officials warn

People wait for a COVID-19 test at the drive-thru site on Main Street in Winnipeg. New rules intended to curb the spread of the illness come into effect on Monday for the city and surrounding areas. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Eighty-five new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Manitoba on Saturday, according to a provincial news release.

Of the new cases, 68 are in the Winnipeg health region, five are in the Southern Health region, four are in the Prairie Mountain Health region, four are in the Northern Health region and four are in the Interlake-Eastern health region.

The province is now reporting 1,572 people have recovered from the illness, while 1,648 cases remain active. 

On Friday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the active case total may be skewed because of a data entry backlog.

There are 28 people in hospital with COVID-19 as of Saturday, including five in intensive care. That's up from 25 people hospitalized with the illness on Friday.

The province says there are 1,648 active COVID-19 cases in Manitoba as of Saturday morning, but officials have said that number is skewed (and likely lower) because of a data entry backlog. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Public health officials also warned of possible exposures in a Winnipeg taxi service.

Anyone who travelled in a Blueline Taxi — described as a four-door Toyota Prius — on Oct. 3 to 9, between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day, should self-monitor for symptoms, the province said.

The province also warned of possible exposures at Wolseley School between Oct. 5 and 7. Officials say the risk is low, and there are no close contacts.

There was a possible COVID-19 exposure at Wolseley School on Clifton Avenue between Oct. 5 and 7, but the risk is deemed low. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

The latest cases come a day after the province announced tougher rules for Winnipeg and several surrounding municipalities, as the region is struggling with the worst COVID-19 surge in Manitoba since the start of the pandemic.

The new rules, effective for two weeks as of Monday, will limit gatherings in the Winnipeg area to a maximum of five and force some businesses, such as bars and beverage rooms, to close.

Manitoba ended a three-day streak of record-high, triple-digit increases in COVID-19 cases on Friday, when 75 new cases were reported.

Also on Friday, an outbreak was declared at Winnipeg's St. Boniface Hospital after two patients contracted COVID-19 within the E6 unit.

As well, the mining company Vale said in a letter to employees on Friday that a worker at its Manitoba operations has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

That case was confirmed on Wednesday, said the letter from the company, which operates a nickel mine in Thompson, Man. The risk is deemed low, Vale says, because the employee's role involved limited contact with other employees.

Manitoba has completed more than 222,000 COVID-19 tests as of Saturday morning, the province says. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

A new COVID-19 test site in Brandon, which was announced Friday, opened on Saturday morning.

The drive-up site at the Keystone Centre (1175 18th St.) will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and weekends, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

It will be able to do up to 120 tests a day once "fully established," the release says.

The province says 2,683 tests were completed on Friday.

The provincial five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — was 4.9 per cent as of Saturday, after reaching a new high of 5.2 per cent on Friday.