Manitoba more than doubles daily COVID-19 record with 480 new cases
Winnipeg moving to red, rest of province to orange on Manitoba's pandemic scale
Manitoba more than doubled its previous record for the most new COVID-19 cases announced on one day, with 480 infections reported on Friday, following a week that has broken new records for daily cases and hospitalizations day after day.
There are now 104 people in hospital with COVID-19 — 79 in Winnipeg — another record in a continuing record-breaking streak that is putting increasing strain on hospitals in Winnipeg.
"The numbers today will strike fear in many Manitobans," Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said at an afternoon news conference, adding that many health-care workers will feel that fear most acutely.
"But I also know that your fear is matched by your courage and your commitment, and we are going to get through this together," she said.
The number of new cases announced Friday far eclipsed the previous record of 193, announced Thursday. The total of confirmed cases in Manitoba is now 5,374.
The new cases announced Friday were identified over the last several days, but weren't announced until now due to a backlog caused by large numbers of positive cases coming in at once, officials said.
There are 2,737 active cases in Manitoba, provincial data says, although that number is likely inflated due to a backlog in clearing cases that have recovered, the province has said.
The five-day test-positivity rate — a rolling average of the number of COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is now 8.6 per cent, yet another record.
Winnipeg going red
Most of the growth in new cases has come from the Winnipeg Health region, which reported 309 new cases on Friday.
The Winnipeg metropolitan region is being moved to the highest level — red, or critical — on the province's pandemic response system. The rest of the province is being moved to the restricted orange level.
As part of a broad shutdown for at least two weeks starting Monday, many businesses and facilities in the Winnipeg metropolitan region will close, including bar and restaurant dining rooms, movie theatres and concert halls. Most retail outlets will be reduced to 25 per cent capacity.
WATCH | Winnipeg moving to red on Manitoba's pandemic scale:
Hospitals will suspend non-urgent and elective procedures, and visitations will be limited to a case-by-case basis for patients undergoing end of life care, in labour or in pediatrics.
"We've been messaging the need for action, the need for practising the fundamentals, and we realize it's very challenging times," said Roussin.
"But now, we see these significant increases in numbers, a strain now on the health-care system, so now is that time to definitely act. It's not the time to panic."
WATCH | 'We need to get on top of this now': Manitoba more than doubles daily COVID-19 record:
The Southern Health region also saw a significant increase, with 94 new cases announced, while there were 42 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 25 in the Northern Health region, and 10 in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
Premier Brian Pallister released a written statement in response to the new restrictions, urging Manitobans to reduce their contacts and follow the fundamentals of pandemic prevention.
"Our government will continue to act on the advice of Dr. Roussin and our health-care experts and it is our hope that these new measures will help slow the spread of this virus and ensure our health-care system is there for all Manitobans, when they need it," Pallister's statement said.
ICUs near capacity
Three more people with COVID-19 have died — all of them residents of the Parkview Place personal care home in Winnipeg — bringing the death toll in Manitoba to 65.
As of Friday, 22 Parkview Place residents have died in the deadliest outbreak in Manitoba to date, and 138 residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
There are currently 15 personal care homes with active COVID-19 outbreaks, after outbreaks were declared at three more Friday:
- Deer Lodge long-term care unit in Winnipeg.
- Pembina Place personal care home in Winnipeg.
- Grandview Personal Care Home in Grandview.
The Maples Personal Care Home in Winnipeg has the second-largest current outbreak in Manitoba, with 92 cases as of Friday, including 77 residents and 15 staff.
Nineteen hospital patients are now in intensive care with COVID-19, tied with the highest number since the start of the pandemic.
Intensive care units are at 96 per cent capacity, Siragusa said.
"These numbers are concerning and with these daily case counts increasing, we can expect there's going to be more hospitalizations in the next week or two, and that is why we will be moving towards ramping down services along with the red restrictions," she said.
Although there is a plan in place to increase capacity in hospitals, "no healthy system is equipped to cope with a significant percentage of the population becoming infected all at the same time," Siragusa said.
Unless Manitobans make immediate changes to their behaviour over the next few weeks, the province's health-care system will not be able to stretch enough to meet the demand, Siragusa said.
An outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital had infected one more staff member as of Friday, for a total of 12 staff members and 25 patients, while an outbreak at Victoria General Hospital had infected 32 patients and 26 staff.
The infections are putting additional strain on hospital staff. The Manitoba Nurses Union said Thursday it knew of 15 nurses at St. Boniface Hospital and at least 12 nurses at Victoria General Hospital who have tested positive. Eight nurses at St. Boniface are isolating due to possible exposure.
An outbreak has also been declared at Centre Scolaire Léo Rémillard — a high school in southeast Winnipeg — where 14 students have tested positive for the illness. Grade 12 students have been sent home for remote learning and health officials are investigating how COVID-19 was transmitted inside the school.
More possible exposures
Health officials announced more possible COVID-19 exposures around the province:
- Oct. 23: Tavern United (1125 18th St.).
- Oct. 20: Sand Hills Casino (777 Sand Hills Dr.).
- Oct. 19, 20 and 23: Lorette Collegiate.
- Oct. 14: Yellowquill College.
- Oct. 19 and 20: Robert Andrews Middle School school bus.
- Oct. 20 and 21: Tyndall Park School.
- Oct. 21 to 23: Pinkham School.
- Oct. 21 and 23: Gladstone School.
WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Oct. 30, 2020: