Manitoba sees 1st cases of new delta subvariant among newly identified cases

Manitoba is reporting a spike in newly identified cases of the highly contagious delta, or B.1617.2 variant as well as the first three cases of a delta sublineage.

36 new cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday

An air traveller gets a COVID-19 test. Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate has been hovering between two and three per cent since the end of July. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

The number of COVID-19 cases now identified as stemming from the highly contagious delta, or B.1.617.2, coronavirus variant has shot up in Manitoba, after several cases were apparently reclassified.

The province has also reported its first three cases of a delta sublineage.

Only 12 more cases were newly linked to coronavirus variants of concern in Manitoba on Wednesday.

However, the the number of cases identified as linked to unspecified variants decreased by 172 Wednesday, while the number of cases associated with the delta variant increased by 160 on the province's online variant dashboard.

That suggests many cases have recently been reclassified.

The number of COVID-19 cases connected with the alpha, or B.1.1.7, variant increased by 16.

The province is also reporting its first three cases of a delta sublineage called AY.3, also known as "delta plus" — but only one of those cases is now active.

A provincial spokesperson says the alpha variant is still the dominant strain in Manitoba at this time.

"Manitoban's best defence against the transmission of this virus has always been the actions of Manitobans," the spokesperson said in an email.

That means staying home when ill, washing your hands, practising physical distancing, wearing a mask and getting vaccinated, the spokesperson said.

There are currently 130 active COVID-19 cases stemming from the alpha variant and 71 active cases connected with the delta variant. Another 120 active cases stem from unspecified variants.

Manitoba's COVID-19 website shows 36 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

There are 13 new cases in the Southern Health region, 12 in the Winnipeg health region, 10 in the Interlake-Eastern health region, one in the Prairie Mountain Health region and none in the Northern Health Region.

The current five-day test positivity rate in Manitoba is 2.9 per cent, up from 2.7 on Tuesday. 

There are 583 active cases and 56,157 people have recovered from COVID-19.

The Manitoba government no longer holds news conferences nor sends news releases on Wednesdays, although case numbers are available from Monday to Friday on the online dashboard. News releases are sent on Mondays and Thursdays.

As a result, no information about the Winnipeg test positivity rate is available. It was at 1.8 per cent on Monday.

The number of Manitobans who have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic started dropped by one on the dashboard to 1,183. The province periodically removes deaths from its tally as data is corrected.

That total includes 188 deaths due to variants of concern.

There are 77 Manitobans hospitalized with COVID-19, a decrease from 81 the day before, the online data dashboard says. Of those, 13 are in intensive care, down by one.

The dashboard says 1,866 COVID-19 tests were done on Tuesday.

The number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 inched up very slightly from Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, 80.6 per cent of eligible Manitobans have one dose of the vaccine and 73.2 have two. Both statistics are up by 0.1 of a percentage point.