6 more deaths, 59 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Manitoba
Manitoba test positivity rate down to 5.2%, Winnipeg at 4.1%
There are six more deaths and 59 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Wednesday, the day after it was announced the first case of a concerning coronavirus variant has been found in the province.
Of the new cases, over half are in the Northern Health Region, where there are 31. There are 21 in the Winnipeg health region, four in the Southern Health region, two in the Prairie Mountain Health region and one in the Interlake-Eastern health region, says Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief provincial public health officer.
"Our numbers continue to trend in a good direction. The hard work by Manitobans is paying off," Atwal said.
"We can't let up now, though. We have more work ahead of us and we must keep these numbers consistently as low as possible, both in total case counts and hospitalization numbers, as well."
The six deaths bring the total in Manitoba to 859.
Of the deaths reported on Wednesday, four are connected to existing outbreaks:
- A man in his 70s from the Northern Health Region, linked to outbreaks at St. Paul's Personal Care Home and the dialysis unit at St. Anthony's General Hospital, both in The Pas.
- A woman in her 70s from the Southern Health region, linked to the outbreak at Heritage Life Personal Care Home.
- A woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home.
- A woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at the Parkview Place care home.
Two women in their 80s from the Winnipeg health region also died.
The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate — a rolling average of the number of tests that come back positive — is down to 5.2 per cent provincially. The rate in Winnipeg is down to 4.1 per cent.
The number of Manitobans with the virus who are in hospital is also down to 255. There are 34 people in intensive care.
On Tuesday, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced that a confirmed case of the coronavirus variant first documented in the U.K., which researchers say is more easily transmitted, had been found in Manitoba.
The case involved international travel, Roussin said, but provincial officials later confirmed the person had travelled from Africa to Europe and then to Manitoba.
Atwal says public health is working to redefine what it means to be a close contact.
The federal government currently considers a person who has been within one metre for 15 minutes to be a close contact. Manitoba was working with this definition, but is talking about shortening that time frame considering how contagious certain strains of the virus are.
"We are looking at finalizing what that time period should be, or what it should look like, and we are looking at less than 15 minutes, for sure."
The news about the virus variant came the same day Roussin and Premier Brian Pallister announced that public health orders will be relaxed further. Museums, indoor rinks, restaurants, gyms and places of worship can reopen Friday with limited capacity.
Services like tattoo parlours and nail salons may also open with reduced capacity and enhanced sanitization and personal protective equipment requirements.
The outbreak is now over at Donwood Manor in Winnipeg.
There were 1,610 tests done on Tuesday, bringing the total number of tests completed since early February of last year to 493,825, the province said.
Some COVID-19 testing locations across the province will have reduced hours on Louis Riel Day. People should visit the government's website for detailed information on each testing site's hours on Monday.