Manitoba

Manitoba reports 7th COVID-19 related death

Another Manitoban has died after battling the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, public health officials announced Tuesday.

Man in his 70s from Southern Health Region has died

Manitoba's top public health officials will brief the public on COVID-19 in the province at 1 p.m. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Another Manitoban has died after battling the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, public health officials announced Tuesday.

A man in his 70s who had underlying health conditions and lived in the Southern Health Region is the province's seventh COVID-19 related death.

The man was being treated in hospital and was in the intensive care unit at one time, said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer.

"It's sad to see," Roussin said. "We get lost in the numbers, but we certainly realize that these are all Manitobans that we've lost."

In addition to the death, one new case of COVID-19 was reported by health officials on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases seen in the province to 282.

The number of active cases remains at 37: four people are in hospital, but no COVID-19 patients are in the ICU.

This bar graph illustrates how many cases of COVID-19 Manitoba has identified, with red representing active cases. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Five recently announced cases are part of a "small cluster" at a workplace in the Prairie Mountain Health region, Roussin said.

"This has been over the last few days that cases have been detected, and certainly it's led to a very thorough contact investigation," he said.

Roussin is unsure how the first case in the cluster contracted the virus, but the other four stemmed from that case.

The cluster is not affecting a health-care facility, Roussin said, though he would not give further details, citing privacy.

The affected staff and their close contacts are self-isolating and public health officials are working with those patients on contact tracing.

WATCH: Investigators uncover a cluster of COVID-19 cases:

Dr. Brent Roussin says five people from one workplace are sick. Based in the Prairie Mountain Health Region in western Manitoba, the affected staff and their close contacts are now self-isolating. 1:05

Officials also are working with the company to test other workers who may have been exposed to COVID-19-positive employees and to implement sanitization protocols at the worksite.

If public health officials believe there is an increased risk to the public, additional information will be provided, Roussin said.

The chart illustrates demographics associated with COVID-19 patients in Manitoba, with women represented by the red bar. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Roussin reiterated that any Manitobans experiencing mild symptoms must stay home.

"Do not go to work, do not go shopping, do not meet friends if you are ill — even mildly ill," he said.

"Workplaces need to be aware of this and have policies in place to limit the ability of workers showing up while they're ill, ensure there are policies in place to allow for sick individuals to stay home."

The total number of tests done in Manitoba since early February is 27,775, including 339 lab tests done Tuesday. 

Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer of Manitoba Shared Health, announced Monday that people who have tested for COVID-19 can access their negative test results through an online portal.

On Tuesday, she said 473 people registered for the service, and as of 3 p.m. Monday, 275 of the registrants received their negative test results.

The red dots represent the cumulative total of tests performed in Manitoba. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Last week, the province opened testing to any Manitobans experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Health officials also announced that it will be able to expand testing capacity so that about 3,000 tests can be done per day by the end of the summer.

There have been relatively low numbers of tests done since those announcements.

"For the most part, it's demand," Roussin said Tuesday. "We're still encouraging Manitobans to be tested, but the low test rates, I don't think we can conclude anything from that." 

Roussin pointed to the low percentage of positive tests — 0.3 per cent over the last seven days — as a truer indicator of the impact of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | May 5, 2020:

Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Tuesday, May 5, 2020. 36:56

More from CBC News:

About the Author

Nicholas Frew is an online reporter based in Winnipeg. Hailing from Newfoundland, Frew moved to Halifax to attend journalism school before moving to Winnipeg. Prior to joining CBC Manitoba, Frew interned at the Winnipeg Free Press. Story idea? Email at nick.frew@cbc.ca

With files from Aidan Geary

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