8 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Manitoba on Wednesday, including 7 on Hutterite colonies

The new cases include two in the Interlake-Eastern Health region, one in the Winnipeg health region, two in the Prairie Mountain Health region and three in the Southern Health region, the Manitoba government said in its Wednesday COVID-19 bulletin.

Now 49 active cases in province as demand for testing surges

An employee screens people for COVID-19 at a drive-thru test site on Main Street in Winnipeg on Wednesday. Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the percentage of completed tests that came back as positive — rose to 1.12 per cent as of Wednesday. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Seven out of the eight new cases of COVID-19 announced in Manitoba on Wednesday are on Hutterite colonies, the province says.

The new cases include a woman in her 30s and a man in his 70s in the Interlake-Eastern Health region; a girl under the age of 10 in the Winnipeg health region; two women in their 50s in the Prairie Mountain Health region; and a woman and a man in their 20s, and a woman in her 50s in the Southern Health region, the Manitoba government said in its daily news bulletin.

The province said recent case counts are reflective of outbreaks in several Hutterite colonies and some travel-related cases. There are now 35 cases in the province linked to Hutterite colonies, with most linked to a large gathering that took place in Alberta.

"The investigations are ongoing. When completed, additional information will be provided as needed to inform people of any public health risks," the province said.

A provincial spokesperson said while public health officials give the age, gender and region of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, they will not provide more information that could result in the release of personal health information.

"It is a long-standing practice that public health does not identify individuals for this reason," the spokesperson said in an email on Wednesday. 

"In areas with small populations and a small number of cases, there is a greater opportunity for the identification of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19."

Wednesday's update brings the total number of cases identified in the province to 374, including 49 that are now active, the bulletin said.

Manitoba Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin has previously said the province's test positivity rate is an important factor to consider in making decisions about COVID-19 restrictions. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

The current five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the percentage of completed tests that came back as positive — rose to 1.12 per cent.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin has previously said that rate is among "the most important indicators" public health officials are watching to make decisions about COVID-19 restrictions, and that any number below 1.5 per cent would be considered "very low."

There is still one person in intensive care with the illness caused by the new coronavirus in Manitoba. Seven people with COVID-19 have died in the province and 318 have recovered.

Expanded testing amid increased demand

Manitoba has announced 49 new cases of COVID-19 since July 14, when the province broke a 13-day streak with no new cases.

On Tuesday, 722 more tests were completed, bringing the total number of COVID-19 tests done since early February to 78,283.

A record number of people have been tested for COVID-19 in Winnipeg in recent days, resulting in some people being turned away from the city's drive-thru test sites.

Manitoba is expanding its test sites in several regions of the province.

In the Prairie Mountain Health region, the Camperville Primary Health Centre in Camperville and the Waterhen Primary Health Care Centre in Waterhen are doing additional COVID-19 testing on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., until the province says otherwise, the bulletin said.

There will also be a drive-thru test site at the Russell EMS building in Russell (at 426 Alexandria Ave. S.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. between July 24 and July 31.

The province is still asking for feedback from Manitobans on the draft plan for Phase 4 of its reopening plan, which could see further relaxing of public health measures as early as Saturday.


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