110 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, outbreak declared at Winnipeg-area school

Manitoba announced 110 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and declared new outbreaks at a school and three Winnipeg personal care homes.

88 new cases in Winnipeg as outbreaks also declared at 3 personal care homes

An employee speaks to people in line at a COVID-19 drive-thru test site in Winnipeg earlier this month. Manitoba announced 110 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Manitoba announced 110 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and declared the province's second outbreak at a school.

An outbreak was declared at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, the province said in a news release Tuesday. The school has been moved to the orange, or restricted, level on the province's pandemic response system.

Outbreaks are announced at schools when there's evidence of transmission between two or more people within a school, though the province said they are still investigating. The Bird's Hill outbreak is the province's second school outbreak since the pandemic began, and was announced the same day the province's first school outbreak at Winnipeg's John Pritchard School was declared over.

John Pritchard School has been moved down to the yellow, or caution, level, the province said Tuesday.

Students told to isolate

The River East Transcona School Division said in a statement Tuesday that five cases have been identified at Bird's Hill School within two classrooms in the grade 2-3 level.

Kara Van Dam's eight-year-old daughter is in one of the classrooms.

Van Dam got an email on Sunday about a positive case in her daughter's class and was told she would be doing at-home learning for the next two weeks. Another email followed on Monday advising her of another case in the class.

"It was frustrating to see the news but I can't say that we were surprised, I'm probably more surprised that we made it to October without having these issues in our classrooms," said Van Dam.

The increased pandemic response level means that two-metre distancing will now be in effect and the River East Transcona School Division said the school has begun moving furniture to ensure students can stay apart.

School buses are also being revised, the division said, as the restricted status means buses should  run at reduced capacity with only one child per seat. Students will also have the option of learning from home, even if they aren't in one of the affected classes.

Van Dam says she's frustrated at-home learning wasn't an option before the school had an outbreak.

"[Learning from home is what] I wanted in September, I was hoping the province would come out with options for people who could stay home with their kids to do home learning," she said.

So far her daughter isn't showing any symptoms and is now undergoing isolation, trying to keep her distance from others in the household. 

Outbreaks in care homes, correctional centre

Outbreaks were also declared Tuesday at three Winnipeg-area personal care homes: Golden West Centennial Lodge, Misericordia Place and Middlechurch Home of Winnipeg, just north of the Perimeter Highway.

An outbreak has also been declared at the Headingley Correctional Facility, where 14 people — 11 non-staff and 3 staff members — have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The jail has moved to the critical, or red level, of the pandemic response system and all visits and transfers of inmates have been suspended.

The province says staff and inmates who may have been exposed have been placed in quarantine. 

"Public health and correctional nurses continue to monitor these inmates daily, and if they develop symptoms, they are offered testing and managed appropriately," a provincial spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

There are 4 other cases of COVID-19 at Manitoba's other correctional facilities including Milner Ridge, Brandon Correctional Centre and the Winnipeg Remand Centre, but those cases have only involve staff so far.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 189 inmates or youth in asymptomatic isolation, and 53 inmates or youth in symptomatic isolation in all eight of Manitoba's correctional facilities.

Higher case numbers possible

Most of Tuesday's new cases — 88 — are in Winnipeg, the province said, but new cases were also reported in each of the province's four other health regions.

Manitoba announced 110 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

There are 11 new cases in the Northern Health region, seven in the Southern Health region and two each in the Interlake-Eastern and Prairie Mountain health regions, the province said.

Manitoba may see higher case numbers this week, if transmission happened during Thanksgiving celebrations, Manitoba Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Monday. It's been just over a week since the holiday weekend.

Tuesday's update marks only the fourth time Manitoba has reported a daily case increase in the triple digits since the pandemic began. It follows three record-breaking case tallies last week, including a high of 173 cases announced on Thursday.

Manitoba has recorded more COVID-19 deaths in October than any other month so far. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

The new cases also come after COVID-19 deaths were announced on two consecutive days, and a day after Manitoba introduced new restrictions for the Winnipeg metropolitan area.

The province announced two deaths on Sunday and two more on Monday. The Monday deaths, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 80s, are both connected to the Heritage Lodge personal care home in Winnipeg.

There are now 32 people in Manitoba hospitals with COVID-19, including six in intensive care, the province said Tuesday. That's the highest number reported in hospital to date.

The current five-day test-positivity rate is 4.3 per cent. The rate is a rolling five-day average of the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive.

Manitoba completed 2,149 COVID-19 tests on Monday, the province said in the release.

Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate was 4.3 per cent on Tuesday. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

The province has added several new potential COVID-19 exposures to its website in recent days, including at schools in Winnipeg and The Pas:

  • John Taylor Collegiate (470 Hamilton Ave., Winnipeg): Oct. 13 and 14.
  • Victor H.L. Wyatt School (485 Meadowood Dr., Winnipeg): Oct. 13 and 14.
  • Robert Andrews School (3230 Manlius St., East St. Paul): Oct. 6 and 7.
  • Oak Park High School (820 Charleswood Rd.): Oct. 6.
  • Daniel McIntyre Collegiate (720 Alverstone St.): Oct. 8.
  • Opasquia Elemental School (17 Eighth St. W., The Pas): Oct. 16.
  • Scott Bateman Middle School (272 Grace Lake Rd., The Pas): Oct. 16.

There are also some new exposures linked to transportation:

  • Winnipeg Transit Route 17: Oct. 12 and 13, between 8:14 a.m. and 8:33 a.m. (northbound McGregor and Enniskillen to westbound Jefferson and Cannes).
  • Winnipeg Transit Route 17: Oct. 12, between 3:20 p.m. and 3:40 p.m. (northbound Mandalay and Jefferson to southbound McGregor to Enniskillen).
  • Maple Bus Lines: Oct. 7-8 (departing at 10 p.m. and arriving at 7 a.m.) and Oct. 9-10 (departing at 10 p.m. and arriving at 7 a.m.).
  • Air Canada Flight AC271, Toronto to Winnipeg: Oct. 10, rows 21-27.
  • Flair Airlines Flight F8186, Winnipeg to Toronto: Oct. 5, rows 13-19.