Manitoba reports record-breaking 742 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death on Christmas Eve

Manitoba has reported 742 new COVID-19 cases and one death on Friday, the government says in a news release, marking the highest single-day increase the province has seen over the course of the pandemic.

Province still working through testing backlog of more than 10,000 swabs, official says

Samjoe James receives a COVID-19 test in this file photo. Manitoba has reported more than 70,000 cases of the illness since the beginning of the pandemic. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Manitoba reported 742 new COVID-19 cases and one death on Friday, the government says in a news release, marking the highest single-day increase the province has seen over the course of the pandemic.

The latest death was a woman in her 40s from the Winnipeg health region, bringing Manitoba's total number of deaths to 1,370, the release said. A COVID-19 death reported on Thursday has now been identified as a man in his 50s, also from Winnipeg.

The newest cases in Manitoba bring the province's seven-day average of new infections up to 401, the highest it's been since May 24.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin hinted at the staggering case count at a last-minute news conference held earlier Friday morning, saying that figure could still be underrepresenting the true number of Manitoba's COVID-19 infections.

That's because a surge in new cases in recent days led to long lines at test sites and extended waits for results. The delays may have discouraged some people from even going.

And the province's testing system remains under strain as it works to get through a backlog that has now reached 10,000 samples, Roussin said.

On Thursday, another 4,657 COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba.

Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate is now 12.6 per cent, up from 10.9 per cent on Thursday. In Winnipeg, that rate is now 14.7 per cent, the release said.

The province also confirmed four more cases of the Omicron variant, bringing Manitoba's total to 22, the release said.

There are now 135 people hospitalized in Manitoba after getting COVID-19, down from 144 on Thursday. Twenty-four of them are in intensive care, down by four.

The vast majority of the province's latest COVID-19 cases are in the Winnipeg health region, which reported 528 of the new cases, the release said.

The rest are split between the Prairie Mountain Health region with 72, the Southern Health region with 71, the Interlake-Eastern health region with 48 and the Northern Health Region with 23.

Of the latest cases in Manitoba, 107 are among people not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the release said.

Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared at two personal care homes in Winnipeg: West Park Manor and Heritage Lodge, the release said.

Meanwhile, an outbreak at the city's Holy Family Home is now over.

To date, 68,577 people in Manitoba have been deemed recovered from COVID-19 and 3,626 cases remain active, the release said.

The province also reminded people that some test sites may have different hours during the holidays. A full list of locations and hours is available on the government's website.

As of Friday, 84.8 per cent of all eligible Manitobans age five and up have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the release said.

That number includes about 45.2 per cent of kids age five to 11.

For people who have gotten two doses that number is now 78.3 per cent, while for those with three doses it's 18.8 per cent, the release said.

Manitoba's COVID-19 testing backlog

6 months ago
Duration 2:16
Cars line up for COVID-19 testing on King Edward Street in Winnipeg earlier this week. As cases surge and Omicron spreads, people are waiting several hours to get their tests and up to four days to see their results.


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