Manitoba admits record 17 COVID-19 patients to intensive care within 24 hours

Manitoba reported the "unfortunate milestone" in its pandemic response on Sunday, a Shared Health spokesperson said, as it also announced 292 new COVID-19 cases and seven more deaths.

Across 3 provinces, there are now 106 Manitoba COVID-19 patients in ICU, marking new high

This month, there have so far been 225 COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care units in Manitoba, a spokesperson said. In April, there were 50. (Mikaela MacKenzie/Winnipeg Free Press/The Canadian Press)

Seventeen COVID-19 patients have been admitted to intensive care units across Manitoba in a 24-hour period — marking an "unfortunate milestone" and record high in the province's pandemic response, a Shared Health spokesperson said.

That number alone — which does not include people admitted to critical care units for other reasons — represents nearly one-quarter of Manitoba's pre-pandemic intensive care capacity of 72, the spokesperson said in an email. Those 17 patients were admitted between noon Friday and noon Saturday.

There are now a record 106 Manitoba COVID-19 patients in intensive care units: 74 in Manitoba, 31 across Ontario and one in Saskatchewan.

That includes four more people transferred to Ottawa, Owen Sound, Markham and Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Saturday. More are tentatively scheduled to be moved out of Manitoba later Sunday, the spokesperson said.

Three others previously transferred out of the province for critical care have since been moved back.

Previously, the highest number of Manitobans in intensive care was 98.

Intensive care admissions in Manitoba this month are now on track to outpace those admitted in April by roughly five times, the spokesperson said. By midday Saturday, the province had seen 225 COVID-19 patients moved to intensive care units since the start of the month. In April, there were 50.

On top of COVID-19 patients, there are another 49 people in critical care units across Manitoba right now. Of the 74 critical care patients still in Manitoba hospitals with COVID-19, 14 are under the age of 40, the spokesperson said.

In total, there are now 308 people being treated for COVID-19 in Manitoba hospitals, the province said in a news release.

The province started moving some of its critical care patients to other regions earlier this month as it works to free up space in its increasingly strained hospitals amid its third wave of the pandemic.

7 deaths, 292 new cases

The latest update comes shortly after Manitoba announced seven more deaths linked to COVID-19 and 292 new cases of the illness.

Five of the men who died had contracted the B117 coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K., the province's news release said.

That included one man in his 60s from the Interlake-Eastern health region, one in his 70s from the Northern Health Region and three — in their 40s, 60s and 70s — from the Winnipeg health region.

The deaths of two men in their 70s from the Southern Health region were also reported, including one who had an unspecified coronavirus variant. They bring Manitoba's total deaths linked to COVID-19 to 1,052, the release said.

While updates on coronavirus variants are only provided in Manitoba Tuesday through Saturday, the latest numbers show the more infectious strains make up more than 60 per cent of the province's total 4,569 COVID-19 cases that are still considered active.

The B117 variant now makes up nearly half Manitoba's known cases of the more contagious strains, the province's online variant dashboard says.

Meanwhile, more than 60 per cent of Manitoba's latest COVID-19 cases are in the Winnipeg health region, which reported 183 infections.

The area's five-day test positivity rate is now 13.6 per cent, down from 14 on Friday. That number was not updated on Saturday because of technical issues, the province said at the time.

Manitoba's rate sank slightly to 12.3 per cent from 12.4 on Saturday.

The rest of the new cases are split between the Southern Health region (which posted 46), the Prairie Mountain Health region (32), the Northern Health region (19) and the Interlake-Eastern health region (12), the release said.

Manitoba has now identified 50,790 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic last year, including 45,169 people deemed recovered.

With files from Bartley Kives


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