Manitoba sees 2nd-highest COVID-19 case jump, test positivity rate on Thursday

Manitoba recorded 67 new cases of COVID-19 and a test positivity rate of three per cent on Thursday. The province hasn't seen numbers this high since spikes in cases at the end of August.

Test positivity rate hits 3%, and 3.3% in Winnipeg

People in Winnipeg wait in a vehicle lineup for a COVID-19 swab at a drive-thru test site. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Manitoba recorded some of its highest COVID-19 numbers on Thursday, as cases in Winnipeg continued to rise.

The province announced 67 new cases of the illness, 57 of which are in the city. The daily tally is second only to a record set on Aug. 23, when Manitoba reported 72 new cases in one day — many of which were linked to clusters on Hutterite colonies. (Another 24 cases were retroactively added to that day's total, bringing the number to 96.)

The province's five-day test positivity rate also saw a spike Thursday, to three per cent, up from 2.4 per cent the day before. Winnipeg's rate is even higher, at 3.3 per cent, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference.

The province's current test positivity rate was surpassed only by a rate of 3.1 per cent at the end of August, three days after the record-high daily increase in cases.

Nearly two weeks after the Winnipeg area was moved to the orange, or "restricted," level under the province's pandemic response system, Roussin urged people keep following public health advice and limit contacts — especially as the Thanksgiving weekend approaches.

"We're likely to start seeing those numbers come down if we maintain our focus," he said.

WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin talks about Thanksgiving plans:

Dr. Brent Roussin’s advice for Thanksgiving

2 years ago
Duration 0:50
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, says it’s best to limit Thanksgiving gatherings to household members this year — but if you don’t, there are steps you can take to limit the potential risk of spreading the illness.

New rules, including mandatory masks indoors and a 10-person cap on gatherings, came into effect on Sept. 28. Roussin said it's still too early to tell how effective the measures are, but urged people not to lose faith in the strategy.

"We all want to see the downward trend right away. But even if we don't see that, it doesn't mean that these aren't effective," he said.

Roussin encouraged people to restrict gatherings to household members and make an attendance list if they're planning to have a Thanksgiving dinner this weekend, to limit how far the illness could spread and help with contact tracing.

Manitoba announced 67 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday — a tally second only to a record set on Aug. 23, when the province reported 72 new cases in one day. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Record-high testing

Six of Thursday's new cases are in the Southern Health region, while three are in the Interlake-Eastern health region, Roussin said. The remaining new case is in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

One previously announced case was removed from the case totals, Roussin said, bringing the total number of cases of the illness identified in the province to 2,344. There are now 863 active cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, including 745 — just over 83 per cent — in the Winnipeg region, according to provincial data.

Another 2,736 COVID-19 tests were done in the province on Wednesday, a new record for tests completed in a single day in Manitoba. There have now been 200,710 lab tests done in the province.

There are 25 people with COVID-19 in hospital in the province, six of whom are in intensive care. Twenty-seven people with the illness have died in Manitoba, while 1,454 have recovered.

A new drive-thru testing site on Van Horne Avenue E. in Brandon was announced on Thursday. Details about locations and hours are on the province's website.

Four more places were identified as sites of possible exposures to COVID-19 on Thursday: Seven Oaks Middle School and Earl Grey School in Winnipeg, the Edge Lounge and Night Club in Steinbach and the Riding Mountain Village Canada Post Outlet in Riding Mountain.

Public health officials are reaching out to close contacts at the schools, and the impacted cohorts are transitioning to learning from home. More information about possible public exposures is also on the province's website.

Manitoba completed a record number of COVID-19 tests on Wednesday, bringing the province's total number of tests completed to 200,710. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Roussin's twice-weekly news conferences will now be at 12:30 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, though his next announcement will be moved to Oct. 13 because of the Thanksgiving holiday on Monday. News bulletins will still be posted daily, the province said.

Thursday's update comes after three deaths were announced in Manitoba on Wednesday — the province's largest single-day jump in fatalities linked to the illness.

One of those deaths was a resident of Parkview Place, the fourth COVID-19 death at the downtown Winnipeg care home. That's the same number of resident deaths as at Bethesda Place in Steinbach, which was previously the single deadliest care home outbreak in the province.

There have now been 40 cases of the illness linked to Parkview Place, said a statement from Revera, the company that runs the care home.

Thirty of those are active — 20 residents and 10 employees, Dr. Rhonda Collins, Revera's chief medical officer, said in the statement. Sick residents have been grouped together on two floors, and residents on all other floors are isolating in their rooms to prevent further spread, Collins said.

Meanwhile, 18 cases have been linked to Bethesda Place, Roussin said: 10 staff and eight residents.

He also provided the following updates on case numbers connected with other clusters in Winnipeg:

  • Heritage Lodge Long Term Care Home: 12 residents.
  • Calvary Place Personal Care Home: six residents and three employees.
  • Beacon Hill Lodge care home: three residents and two employees.
  • St. Norbert Personal Care Home: one employee.
  • Metropolitan Kiwanis Courts assisted retirement living facility: one resident and one employee.
  • John Pritchard School: 39 people.

Also on Thursday, staff at Milner Ridge Correctional Centre were notified about a correctional officer testing positive for COVID-19.

A letter to all staff at the facility, located 72 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, said public health officials conducted a full investigation and identified two potential exposures to the officer, who was asymptomatic at the time. Other than that, it said the risk to other staff and inmates is considered low.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Oct. 8, 2020:

Manitoba government daily briefing on coronavirus: Oct. 8

2 years ago
Duration 36:06
Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Thursday, October 8, 2020.

With files from Darren Bernhardt


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