'We've lost our way': More Winnipeg restrictions coming as Manitoba posts record-breaking 173 COVID-19 cases
Another death recorded as test positivity rate hits 4.9% in Manitoba, 5.8% in Winnipeg on Thursday
Further pandemic restrictions are coming soon for the Winnipeg area, Manitoba's chief public health officer warned, as he announced yet another record-breaking daily tally of 173 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
The update from Dr. Brent Roussin marked the third day in a row the province has set a new record for a single-day increase in cases.
Roussin's warning of impending restrictions, which he said will likely take effect early next week, comes more than two weeks after the Winnipeg region was moved to the orange, or restricted, level on the province's pandemic response system. That designation brought a 10-person cap on gatherings and made masks mandatory in indoor public spaces.
A total of 133 of the new cases announced Thursday are in the Winnipeg health region, where Roussin said it's clear more restrictions are needed as people continue to attend gatherings that end up contributing to the spread of the illness.
In one case, a person with COVID-19 symptoms went to a gathering on Sept. 11, setting off a transmission chain that infected 40 people and forced 243 to self-isolate in a span of 12 days, Roussin said.
"We've lost our way with the fundamentals at this point," he said, adding symptomatic people have still been going out to work and socialize.
Many of Manitoba's recent new COVID-19 cases are among people in their 20s, Roussin said, and more than half of the cases in that demographic have no known origin.
WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin explains how one person at a gathering led to dozens being infected:
Roussin gave few details about what new restrictions people in the Winnipeg area can expect, but the response measures listed on the province's website suggest they could include restricted non-urgent procedures, more remote learning in high schools and lower capacity limits across the board.
Meanwhile, all licensed personal care homes in the Winnipeg region are being moved up to the red, or critical, level in the pandemic response system, Roussin said.
That means anyone admitted to a care home will need to self-isolate for 14 days once they get there, the province said in a news release. No new residents will be admitted to any care homes that have suspected or confirmed outbreaks — unless they already have COVID-19.
Manitoba also announced its 38th death linked to the novel coronavirus on Thursday. The death of a Winkler man in his 40s with underlying health conditions was the province's 11th fatality linked to the illness to be announced in the last six days.
Manitoba's most recent deaths also include three residents of Parkview Place personal care home in Winnipeg. With nine deaths and 89 infections, the site is battling the largest and deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in a Manitoba long-term care facility to date.
New workers at that site will not be allowed to work at other care homes, Roussin said. Nothing is off the table to keep the spread at Parkview Place under control, he added.
Twenty-three of Manitoba's new COVID-19 cases on Thursday are in the Southern Health region, while eight are in the Prairie Mountain Health region. Another six are in the the province's Interlake-Eastern health region, and the remaining three are in the Northern Health region.
Thursday's update comes after multiple record-setting days for new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba.
On Wednesday, the province announced 146 more people had contracted COVID-19, at that point the fourth record-breaking day in less than a week. It broke the record set Tuesday, when the province announced 124 new cases of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate, a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive, is now 4.9 per cent, Roussin said. In Winnipeg, that rate is now 5.8 per cent.
The illness has also made its way into other high-risk settings in Manitoba, including nine First Nations and three jails.
WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin explains why more restrictions are needed:
The province declared an outbreak at Headingley Correctional Centre this week after seven inmates and two workers tested positive for COVID-19, raising concerns of how to physically distance in an overcrowded facility. There are currently 593 people incarcerated at Headingley, a provincial spokesperson said on Thursday, though the site has an official capacity of 549.
Right now, 154 inmates are isolated from the rest of the population in separate units, the spokesperson said.
An outbreak declared at the YWCA in Thompson, Man., which has been housing about 25 people experiencing homelessness throughout the pandemic, has now been linked to five cases of COVID-19, Roussin said Thursday.
There are now 25 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Manitoba, including five in intensive care. There have been 3,098 cases of COVID-19 identified in the province.
To date, 1,533 people in Manitoba have recovered from the illness. Another 1,527 cases are still considered active — though that number is skewed because of a backlog of cases that public health workers need to follow up on, Roussin has said.
The outbreak at Maplewood Manor personal care home in Steinbach, Man., is now considered over, and that site has been moved down to the yellow, or caution, level on the pandemic response system, Roussin said.
On Wednesday, 2,117 more COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba, bringing the total completed in the province since early February to 217,878.
WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Oct. 15, 2020: