16 new cases of COVID-19 identified in Manitoba, most linked to Brandon cluster, close contacts

Sixteen new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Manitoba on Saturday, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 148. The highest number of active cases in Manitoba was 163, which came at the height of the pandemic in early April.

Now 148 active cases, including 9 in hospital; test positivity rate jumps to 1.22 per cent

An employee at a drive-thru COVID-19 test site in Winnipeg stands between lines of vehicles with people waiting to be tested for the illness caused by the new coronavirus. On Saturday, the province hit six digits of tests completed, when it announced it had done 100,074 swabs for COVID-19. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Most of the sixteen new COVID-19 cases announced in Manitoba on Saturday are connected to a known cluster of the illness in the Brandon area, or to close contacts of known cases of the virus, the province says.

Saturday's update brings the total number of active cases in the province to 148.

Manitoba's five-day rolling test positivity rate also jumped to 1.23 per cent, from 1.1 per cent on Friday, the Manitoba government said in a news bulletin on Saturday.

The highest number of active cases in Manitoba to date was 163, which came at the height of the pandemic in early April.

The province didn't say specifically how many of the new cases announced Saturday were connected to the Brandon cluster and close contacts.

Twelve of the 16 new cases are in the Prairie Mountain Health region — which includes the city of Brandon. The other four were in the Southern Health region.

The new cases include several young people: in the Prairie Mountain Health region, a boy under the age of 10 and two girls between 10 and 19 have tested positive for COVID-19. In the Southern Health region, two boys and a girl, all between 10 and 19, have contracted the illness, the bulletin said.

The other Prairie Mountain cases include two women and a man in their 20s, two women and a man in their 30s, two men in their 40s and a man in his 70s.

A man in his 40s from the Southern Health region was also among the new cases.

When health officials are done investigating the new cases, more information will be provided if there's a risk to public health, the bulletin said.

There are still nine people in Manitoba hospitals with the illness caused by the new coronavirus, including three in intensive care.

Eight people have died from COVID-19 in the province — with the most recent death reported on July 28 — and 351 have recovered.

There have been a total of 100,074 COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba, including 1,263 done on Friday, and 507 cases detected.

Brandon cluster

On Friday, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said 34 cases had been linked to the COVID-19 cluster in Brandon.

That cluster is connected to a person who travelled from eastern Canada and did not properly self-isolate when they got back to Manitoba, Roussin said, though it's unlikely health officials would be able to pinpoint the exact source of the outbreak.

There were also six cases in Brandon not linked to the cluster — which Roussin said shows the infections are starting to spread within the community.

"It's not just in a couple households," he said. "We're seeing some spillover into probably community transmission in that area."

Ten of the cases in Brandon were connected to the Maple Leaf Foods pork processing plant in the city, the company confirmed Friday. Only some of them are connected to the larger cluster in the city, Roussin said.

The province faced backlash this week after a spike in cases over the August long weekend, when people criticized the government for only releasing the number of new cases and not giving any details typically included in its weekly bulletins (like the health regions where new cases are detected).


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