7 deaths, 145 COVID-19 cases identified in Manitoba as delta variant spreads to all regions

Dr. Jazz Atwal says 40 per cent of Manitoba's cases of the B.1.617.2 variant first seen in India, also called delta, have been in the Winnipeg health region, with another 29 per cent in the Southern Health region and 24 per cent in the Northern Health Region.

Latest update includes numbers from 2 days after Canada Day hiatus

A laboratory technologist works to sequence the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Manitoba has now reported a total of 239 cases connected with the delta coronavirus variant. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The delta coronavirus variant has spread to all five of Manitoba's health regions, the province's deputy chief public health officer said Friday.

Dr. Jazz Atwal said 40 per cent of Manitoba's cases of the B.1.617.2 variant have been in the Winnipeg health region, with another 29 per cent in the Southern Health region and 24 per cent in the Northern Health Region.

That variant — first seen in India — is the one the head of the World Health Organization said was the most transmissible of those identified so far.

Manitoba also reported 145 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths linked to the illness over a period of two days, after a Canada Day reporting hiatus that saw 91 cases rolled over to Friday, Atwal said at a news conference.

WATCH | Why COVID-19 hit Manitoba's health-care system so hard:

Manitoba looks into why COVID-19 hit the health-care system so hard

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Of Friday's cases, 23 were in the Winnipeg health region. There were also 11 in the Southern Health region, nine in the Interlake-Eastern health region, six in the Prairie Mountain Health region and five in the Northern Health Region, the province said in a news release.

Manitoba also reported 22 new delta cases on Friday, its online variant dashboard said. 

Atwal said 187 of Manitoba's 239 delta cases were people who were not immunized before they got infected or had gotten one dose less than two weeks earlier.

"We do acknowledge some of these individuals may not have been eligible to be vaccinated. They may have had an appointment that came after they were infected or had barriers to access the vaccine," he said, encouraging unvaccinated people to get their shots.

Dr. Jazz Atwal is Manitoba's deputy chief provincial public health officer. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Manitoba also reported 41 more cases of the B.1.1.7 or alpha variant, first seen in the U.K., three of the P.1 gamma variant associated with Brazil and 39 still unspecified, the dashboard said.

Atwal said Manitoba is still working on updated pandemic modelling that factors in more infectious coronavirus strains, including the delta variant.

Deaths linked to variants

Five of Manitoba's latest COVID-19 deaths were connected to variants, the province said.

That includes three from the Winnipeg health region: a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s who had the alpha variant and a woman in her 70s who had an unspecified variant.

A woman and a man in their 60s from the Southern Health region also had the alpha variant when they died.

A woman in her 40s from the Winnipeg health region and a man in his 70s from the Southern Health region have also died.

Manitoba has now had 1,147 COVID-19 deaths.

A previously reported death — a man in his 30s from the Interlake-Eastern health region — was removed after a data correction after being announced Wednesday, the province said.

Manitoba recorded 49,566 more vaccine doses given over the past two days. Forty-six per cent of those 12 and older are now fully vaccinated, while 74.2 per cent have at least one dose, the province's online vaccine dashboard said.

Manitoba's vaccination targets for the Terry Fox Day holiday — Aug. 2 — are 50 per cent for second doses and 75 per cent for first doses as part of the reopening plan.

The five-day provincial test positivity rate sank to 5.4 per cent Friday from 6.2 Wednesday. Winnipeg's sank to 4.8 per cent, down from 5.6.

There are now 163 Manitobans hospitalized after getting COVID-19, the province said, down 10 since Wednesday. Of those people, 49 are in intensive care — down six — including 14 under age 40, a Shared Health spokesperson said in an email.

There are still six Manitoba COVID-19 patients receiving critical care in Ontario. 

The province started sending some COVID-19 intensive care patients to other regions in May as it worked to create space in its strained hospitals. Since then, 39 people sent out of Manitoba have been brought back and 12 have died.

Atwal said the pandemic overwhelmed Manitoba's acute care system and it was proportionally hit harder than any other province's — something governments at the provincial and federal levels are looking into, he said.

"We're going to look at the information on who was a severe outcome, who got hospitalized, who ended up in the ICU in Manitoba. And we're going to provide that information with other provinces as well," Atwal said.

"That's going to take a lot of time, because it means reviewing all the cases. It means getting together with all these other jurisdictions to understand definitions and to review all the data."

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at the M3 unit in Winnipeg's St. Boniface Hospital, while outbreaks are over at the Carman Memorial Hospital and the Eastview Place Personal Care Home in Altona, the province said.

To date, 56,306 Manitobans have tested positive for COVID-19, including 54,013 people considered recovered and 1,098 still deemed active.

WATCH | Dr. Jazz Atwal gives an update on COVID-19 cases, delta variant:

Manitoba government daily briefing on coronavirus: July 2

2 years ago
Duration 32:13
Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Friday, July 2, 2021.