1 death, 63 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Monday after 1st weekend of latest reopenings
Possible exposure at St. Andrew's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Winnipeg
Manitoba reports 63 more COVID-19 cases on Monday and one more death following the first weekend with relaxed public health orders in effect.
Of the new cases, more than half — 36 — are in the Northern Health Region.
There are 25 new cases in the Winnipeg health region, two cases in the Southern Health region and no new cases in the Interlake-Eastern and Prairie Mountain health regions.
That's cause for optimism, but not carelessness, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference on Monday.
"Our numbers, for the most part, continue to improve, trend in the right direction, as do our hospitalization numbers. However, we still see many individuals in hospital, still see many individuals still in intensive care," he said.
"There continues to be a need for us to be on guard. The variants of concern add to that need. We are still at risk."
A woman in her 80s from the Northern Health Region died of COVID-19.
The five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the number of tests that come back positive for the coronavirus — is 3.5 per cent in Manitoba, up from 3.3 per cent on Sunday. The rate is 2.4 per cent in Winnipeg, up from 2.3 per cent.
There are 164 people in hospital with COVID-19, up from 159 the day before, with 22 in intensive care units.
The number of cases involving coronavirus variants of concern in the province remains at nine. That includes a case of B1351 — the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa — announced Friday. The case was found in the Winnipeg region.
The province is ramping up testing of all COVID-19 samples to retroactively test for the B1351 variant as well as the B117 variant, Roussin said.
"Every positive test that we can screen, we're going to screen them all, back to the beginning of February."
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There are 1,145 active cases and 30,236 people have recovered from COVID-19.
There were 1,390 tests done on Sunday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 538,759.
Possible exposure at church
Public health officials are warning of a possible COVID-19 exposure at a Winnipeg church on Thursday.
The exposure was at St. Andrew's Ukrainian Church, 160 Euclid Ave., between 11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.
Roussin said there were at least 40 close contacts associated with a funeral that took place there.
High-risk contacts have already been notified by public health officials, but anybody concerned about possible exposure should call Health Links to be screened to see whether they need to be tested.
Another outbreak has been declared at St. Boniface Hospital Unit E5, while the outbreak at Holy Family Personal Care Home is now over.
The update comes three days after a broad range of reopenings and increases to gathering sizes took effect in Manitoba.
The latest pubic health orders, which came into effect Friday, increased outdoor gathering sizes at private residences from five to 10 in addition to residents. Households are also now allowed to choose between sticking with the previous rule on indoor gatherings that allowed two designated visitors per home, or forming a "bubble" with one other household.
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Nearly all businesses, including restaurants, retail and indoor recreational facilities, are now permitted to reopen at limited capacity.
Exceptions include casinos and bingo halls. Indoor theatres and concert halls remain closed to the public, but rehearsals are now permitted for professional symphonies, dance troupes, operas and ballets.
Daily cases have declined considerably since peaking late last year. The drop in cases, hospitalizations and deaths coincided with a gradual loosening of months-long provincewide closures.
Manitoba announced two more deaths on Sunday and 56 new cases.
Manitoba is approaching one year since the first cases were detected in the province on March 12, 2020.
WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | March 8, 2021:
With files from Bryce Hoye