Don't lose sight of COVID danger, Dr. Roussin says as Manitoba posts 61 new cases, no deaths

Manitoba public health officials announced 61 new COVID-19 cases and no deaths on Monday.

7-day average daily case count is now 92, the lowest since April 8

Manitoba loosened its public health orders on the weekend, allowing expanded freedoms for fully vaccinated people, increased gathering sizes, and some types of businesses to reopen at limited capacity. (Gabby Jones/Bloomberg)

Manitoba public health officials announced 61 new COVID-19 cases and no deaths on Monday.

It's the lowest daily case number since early April, and the first time in exactly a month that there are zero deaths.

The Winnipeg health region and Interlake-Eastern health region have most of the latest cases with 27 and 20, respectively.

The Northern Health Region has eight, the Southern Health region has four and the Prairie Mountain Health region has two.

The seven-day average daily case count in Manitoba is now 92, the lowest since April 8, when it was 89.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate in Manitoba is 6.2 per cent, down from 6.5 on Sunday. In Winnipeg, it's 5.8 per cent, which is down more than a percentage point from 6.9 on Sunday.

A total of 194 Manitobans are in hospital due to COVID-19, including 61 in intensive care. There are 50 in Manitoba ICUs and 11 in Ontario ICUs.

The number of deaths of Manitobans with COVID-19 remains at 1,139.

A girl under age 10, who was announced as the only COVID-related death Sunday, had underlying health conditions, Roussin said.

Her exact age was not provided, though the province did say she lived in the Winnipeg health region.

She is the second child under 10 in Manitoba whose death was linked to the virus. The first was a boy who died in late November.

It was "a tragic day in Manitoba," Roussin said, but he also wanted to reassure parents that severe outcomes like that in children are rare.

WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin talks about the death of a child and severe outcomes in children:

Child under 10 dies of COVID

2 years ago
Duration 0:57
Dr. Roussin says parents can protect their kids from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, but should take solace that severe outcomes are rare in chidren.

Caseloads have been declining, for the most part, in recent weeks, prompting officials on Friday to move Manitoba out of code red on its pandemic response system for the first time in more than seven months.

Manitoba Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin also announced on Monday a partial reopening of day services for the province's Community Living DisAbility Services program in Winnipeg. The changes take effect immediately, he said.

Day services had been suspended in mid-May due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases.

As well, visitation restrictions at Community Living DisAbility Services have been eased for anyone who is fully vaccinated, which means at least two weeks have passed since the second dose was received.

Fully immunized people involved with Community Living DisAbility Services can have two fully immunized visitors inside their residential care facility.

The province loosened some of its public health orders on Saturday morning after reaching — and then surpassing — a target of 70 per cent of Manitobans with one vaccine dose and 25 per cent with two.

The newest orders, set to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 2, allow expanded freedoms for fully vaccinated people, increased gathering sizes, and some types of businesses to reopen at limited capacity. They also allow numerous indoor and outdoor activities to resume. 

As of Monday, 72.9 per cent of Manitobans age 12 or older have a first vaccine dose, the province's vaccination dashboard says, while 38 per cent have two doses.

The next target date in the province's reopening plan is the Terry Fox Day long weekend in August, when officials aim to have at least 75 per cent of eligible people immunized with a first dose and 50 per cent with a second dose.

If the province reaches that goal, capacity limits on businesses are expected to increase to 50 per cent.

The third phase of reopening will follow on Labour Day, if 80 per cent of Manitobans have one dose and 75 per cent have two.

The reopening plan has been criticized for not including museums and galleries among the businesses and services allowed to welcome back customers, such as gyms, restaurants and retail spaces that can open at 25 per cent capacity.

Roussin repeated on Monday that indoor gatherings present the highest risk of virus transmission, especially places where people remain for prolonged periods.

"We're still at the earliest stages of this reopening plan. We're not in a position to open everything at once," he said.

"If we start losing sight of this virus and dramatically increasing the amount of contacts that we have, then we're certainly at risk of seeing a resurgence of cases."

Public gatherings are allowed to have as many as 25 people, while gatherings outdoors on private property are limited to 10.

Indoor gatherings at private residences, beyond members of the household, remain prohibited.

WATCH | Roussin urges people to continue to limit their contacts:

Dr. Roussin warns to keep contacts down

2 years ago
Duration 0:56
Dr. Brent Roussin says it's important for Manitobans to reduce their contacts because the province is still at risk.

"We fully expect to continue to be able to reopen things over the summer as outlined in our plan, but we're just not at that stage yet," Roussin said.

The second stage of the reopening plan could come sooner than Aug. 2 if vaccination rates and other indicators are trending in the right direction, he said.

At least one incubation period — 14 days — first needs to pass under the current restrictions, he said.

Roussin was asked several times today what advice he has for parents with kids under 12, who are not yet eligible for a COVID vaccine of any sort, or those age 12-17 who are partially vaccinated but unable to get the second dose because of the shortage of Pfizer, which is the only approved vaccine for that age group.

He urged them to follow the fundamental messaging about limiting contacts outside the household and maintaining a two-metre distance.

The same advice goes for everyone until health officials allow larger gatherings, he said.

"The math is easy. The more contacts you have, the more transmission we'll see, and we'll see case numbers go up," Roussin said.

"Yes, we have some things that we've been able to open — we want Manitobans to enjoy that summer — but we can't lose sight of COVID."

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | June 28, 2021:

Manitoba government daily briefing on coronavirus: June 28

2 years ago
Duration 35:06
Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Monday, June 25, 2021.