Manitoba

2 new COVID-19 cases announced in Manitoba's Prairie Mountain Health region

Two men in their 30s tested positive for COVID-19, the province announced on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 76.

6 patients still in hospital with coronavirus, including 4 in intensive care as of Thursday

This electron microscope image shows the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Manitoba's test positivity rate for the illness was 0.4 per cent on Thursday. (NIAID-RML via AP)

Two more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Manitoba, Dr. Brent Roussin announced on Thursday.

The new cases are two men in their 30s in the southwestern Prairie Mountain Health region, Manitoba's chief public health officer said at a news conference.

The update brings the total number of cases in the province to 409, 76 of which are considered active.

Health officials don't know where one of the men got the virus, and are still investigating the other, Roussin said.

Among the cases announced this week, four are close contacts of known COVID-19 cases and three are travel-related.

Only three cases announced in the past week have been deemed community spread, meaning the percentage of Manitoba's cases with no known origin is roughly 11 per cent, Roussin said.

The province will only release more details on the new cases if there is a risk to public health, he said.

There are still six people in hospital with the illness caused by the new coronavirus, four of whom remain in intensive care. In total, 325 people have now recovered from COVID-19 in Manitoba.

The province's rolling five-day test positivity rate — an average of the percentage of completed tests that come back as positive — dropped to 0.4 per cent on Thursday, Roussin said. On Wednesday, that was was 0.44 per cent.

An employee screens people for COVID-19 at a drive-thru test site on Main Street in Winnipeg on July 22. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Manitoba announced its eighth death related to COVID-19 on Tuesday. The man, who was in his 70s and from the Southern Health region, died on July 22.

He was not previously hospitalized and was considered a new COVID-19 case, the province said on Tuesday.

"I want to extend my condolences to the loved ones of our most recent death," Roussin said Thursday.

He said public health officials only got the man's positive lab result on July 26, and announced the death the next day, following an investigation — which is why the public didn't learn about the man's death until six days after it happened.

"Like usual, public health will announce any details that [are] to the benefit of Manitobans," Roussin said.

Before this week, the last death linked to the illness caused by the new coronavirus in Manitoba was on May 5 — almost three months ago.

No symptoms? Don't get tested, Roussin says

As frustrations grow over long lines at test sites and delays in results in Manitoba, Roussin said turnaround times at the Cadham Provincial Laboratory are still between 24 and 48 hours.

That reassurance comes in spite of a dramatic increase in demand for COVID-19 tests amid a surge in rhinovirus infections, which can cause the common cold.

He noted there are still sometimes delays in transporting samples and entering test results.

"These are all things that we continue to work on, and we're trying to get those turnaround times down," Roussin said.

He cautioned employers against testing employees who don't have symptoms of COVID-19, because that puts a strain on the system. He reiterated that testing is most important for those with symptoms, or those who have had contact with known cases of the illness.

On Wednesday, 1,179 more tests for COVID-19 were done in Manitoba, bringing the total number completed in the province to 87,548, the bulletin said.

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