16 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Manitoba

There are 16 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Wednesday, including 10 in Winnipeg, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 202.

Update brings active caseload to 202, including 5 in hospital

A person is tested for COVID-19 at the Town Centre in downtown Brandon on Aug. 11, 2020. (Ian Froese/CBC)

There are 16 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Wednesday, including 10 in Winnipeg.

The update brings the total number of active cases in the province to 202, a news bulletin said on Wednesday — the first time Manitoba's active case count has surpassed 200.

The caseload increase comes after only four new cases were announced on Tuesday, when Manitoba got a short break from a five-day streak of double-digit increases in the high teens and 30s.

That was the highest number of consecutive days in Manitoba with double-digit increases. The previous record was four straight days in early April.

There have now been 578 cases of the illness caused by the new coronavirus identified in Manitoba.

The province's five-day test positivity rate, a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive, is now 1.06 per cent — a drop from Tuesday's rate of 1.27 per cent.

The Winnipeg cases announced Wednesday include four men and two women in their 20s, a man and a woman in their 30s and two women in their 40s, the bulletin said.

Four of the new cases announced Wednesday are in the Prairie Mountain Health region: a girl age 10 to 19, a woman in her 20s and two men in their 40s.

The new cases Wednesday also included a woman in her 30s in the Interlake-Eastern Health region and a woman in her 60s from the Southern Health region.

The red line illustrates the five-day test positivity average, or the percentage of tests that came back positive for COVID-19. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Preliminary investigations suggest most of the new cases in Winnipeg are related to travel and close contacts of known COVID-19 cases, the bulletin said. Most of the new cases in the Prairie Mountain region, meanwhile, are linked to previously announced cases in Brandon.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister cautioned people not to live in fear despite the climbing case numbers. He suggested that people may be more worried about new cases after the province went for weeks with relatively low numbers, including a 13-day stretch when no new cases were reported.

"The numbers themselves have been so low … it's created a circumstance where we're more fearful as a direct consequence of that, because there was nowhere to go but up," he said. 

Flight passengers told to isolate

People who were in specific seats on three recent flights are now advised to self-isolate for 14 days following the flight and watch for symptoms.

The seats and flights are rows 30 to 36 on Air India Flight AI 121 from New Delhi, India, to Frankfurt, Germany, on Aug. 3; rows 32 to 38 on Air Canada Flight 873 from Frankfurt, Germany, to Toronto Pearson International Airport on Aug. 4; and rows 19 to 25 on Air Canada Flight 271 from Toronto Pearson International Airport to the James A. Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg on Aug. 4.

People who were on the flights in other seats should still watch for symptoms and self-isolate if they get sick, the bulletin says.

International travellers are supposed to self-isolate for 14 days under federal rules, and travellers from Eastern Canada are supposed to isolate for 14 days according to Manitoba's rules.

Five people with COVID-19 are in hospital in Manitoba, including three in intensive care — numbers that remain unchanged from Tuesday.

Since Monday, 36 new cases of COVID-19 have been announced in Manitoba.

To date, 368 people have recovered from the illness in the province, and eight have died.

The red line illustrates the cumulative number of cases, while the grey bar illustrates daily case totals. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

A growing cluster of cases in Brandon, Man., has climbed to at least 64, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said on Monday.

There were also 22 employees at the western Manitoba city's Maple Leaf Foods pork processing plant who have tested positive for the illness as of Monday, Roussin said. Only some of them are part of Brandon's larger COVID-19 cluster.

Most of the province's active cases are in the Prairie Mountain Health region, which includes Brandon, and in the Southern Health region. As of Wednesday, there were 86 active cases in the Prairie Mountain region and 43 in the Southern region, according to the province's COVID-19 dashboard.

The red line illustrates the weekly average test level, while the grey bar indicates how many tests were done each day. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Only 28 of the province's active cases were in Winnipeg, as of Wednesday.

Health officials opened an extra test site in Brandon on Tuesday to help ease long wait times at what was previously the city's only testing location.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen also announced on Monday that the province will soon start providing more "nuanced" breakdowns of where in Manitoba new COVID-19 cases appear. That change is expected to come by the end of this week, Friesen said.

On Tuesday, 1,554 more tests for COVID-19 were completed in Manitoba, bringing the total done in the province since early February to 105,661.