6 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Manitoba, including more in Hutterite colonies

Six new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Manitoba on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases identified in the province to 343. Eighteen of those cases were announced this week, after Manitoba went 13 days without reporting a new case of the illness.

Total cases now 343, 18 of which were announced this week

Manitoba public health officials say five people from Hutterite colonies in Manitoba tested positive for COVID-19 last week. On Sunday, though, a member of the Hutterian COVID-19 task force said there are a few more cases. (Sheri Hofer/Baker Hutterite Colony)

Six new cases of COVI​​​​​​D-19 were announced in Manitoba on Sunday, including more in Hutterite colonies. 

The update brings the total number of cases identified in the province to 343, the Manitoba government said on Twitter.

Eighteen of those cases were announced this week, after the province went 13 days without reporting a new case of the illness.

Public health officials confirmed seven of Manitoba's most recent COVID-19 cases have been on at least two Hutterite colonies, including five new cases on a colony in the Interlake-Eastern Health region announced on Friday.

But according to Mark Waldner of the Hutterian Safety Council's COVID-19 task force, there are more.

"We believe there's a few additional cases among our communities," he told CBC News on Sunday.

Waldner couldn't provide details or say how many of the new cases are from Hutterite colonies until he has exact numbers.

He said overall, Hutterites in Manitoba are worried, but are working hard to prevent the spread.

Many are restricting all travel in and out of colonies, a number of people are going into voluntary self-isolation and communities are ramping up their sanitization procedures. 

"Everybody is a bit anxious there's no doubt about it, but people are coping. We've got to get through this and we will. Hopefully in a couple of weeks just be history and a story that we can tell."

He added as soon as communities learned of the cases, they began their own contact tracing procedures, leading to droves of community members going to get tested.

Waldner said overall he's been amazed at the widespread response across Manitoba, but he's also worried about drawing negative attention to the community.

"I think there's a bit of concern that the spotlight may shine on us as a minority group … We've heard of cases in other jurisdictions where visible minorities have been targeted somewhat and we don't want to go there," he said.

"We're hoping that we do the right thing and everybody does the right thing and recognizes that this virus has no boundaries."

As of Friday, there was no one in hospital in Manitoba with the illness caused by the new coronavirus. In total, seven people who contracted COVID-19 had died in the province and 318 had recovered.

There had been 73,885 COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba to date as of Friday. Meanwhile, the province's five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the percentage of completed tests that came back as positive — was 0.43 per cent.

On Friday evening, Manitoba Health officials said someone with COVID-19 visited four Winnipeg locations and one location in Brandon while symptomatic on three days last week.

Numbers on testing, recoveries and active cases will be updated again on Monday.

With files from Erin Brohman


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