151 new cases of COVID-19, 3 deaths reported in Manitoba Saturday

There are 151 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths in Manitoba on Saturday, the province says in a news release.

Latest deaths all linked to more infectious alpha coronavirus variant

A health-care worker prepares to administer a nasal swab at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

There are 151 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths in Manitoba on Saturday, the province says in a news release.

All three of the latest deaths are people who had the B.1.1.7, or alpha, coronavirus variant first seen in the U.K.

The people who died were a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region, and a man in his 70s from the Southern Health region, connected with the outbreak at the Bethesda Regional Health Centre's medical unit.

The man in his 60s was linked to an outbreak at the Health Sciences Centre's WRS3 unit, the release said.

The latest deaths bring Manitoba's total linked to COVID-19 to 1,118.

Among the five health regions, Winnipeg has the biggest proportion of Saturday's new cases, with 61 infections.

The rest are spread between the Northern Health Region, with 33 new cases, the Southern Health region (32), the Interlake-Eastern health region (14) and the Prairie Mountain health region (11).

Lowest Winnipeg test positivity since April

Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate is still 8.3 per cent, the release says.

Winnipeg's rate sank to 7.4 per cent, down from 8.3 on Friday. The update marks the lowest the city's five-day rate has been since April 24, when it was 7.2 per cent.

The number of cases identified as stemming from more contagious coronavirus variants increased by 106 Saturday, the province's online variant dashboard says.

That includes 97 more cases of the alpha variant, six more cases of the B.1.351 beta variant first seen in South Africa, three more cases of the B.1.617.2 delta variant linked to India and three more cases of the P.1 gamma variant associated with Brazil, the dashboard says.

The number of COVID-19 cases that were previously identified as being connected to a variant, but had not yet been specified, also dropped by three.

There are now 244 Manitobans in hospital after getting COVID-19, the release said. That's a drop of 14 since Friday.

Of those, 76 people are in intensive care units — down from 80 on Friday. Saturday's number includes 17 people in ICUs Ontario and one in Alberta, the release said.

The number of people who have been returned to the province after being transferred to free up space in Manitoba's strained hospitals is now 31.

As of Saturday, 23.1 per cent of Manitobans over 12 and up were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the province's online vaccine dashboard says.

The proportion of residents with at least one dose of vaccine reached 70.9 per cent.

An outbreak at the Health Sciences Centre's GD4 unit is now over, the release said.

Manitoba completed another 1,853 COVID-19 tests on Friday.

Since the pandemic began, 55,238 Manitobans have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 51,813 people are considered recovered while 2,307 cases are still deemed active, the release said.


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