9 more deaths, 241 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba
Vaccination of health-care workers starts Wednesday
Manitoba has 241 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more people have died, health officials said Monday.
All but one of the deaths — including a man in his 40s and a man in his 50s — are in the Winnipeg health region.
There are also three deaths connected to an outbreak at the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg — a woman in her 80s and two women in their 90s.
The current provincial test positivity rate is 13.6 per cent, while in Winnipeg it is 13 per cent.
The other deaths are:
- A Winnipeg woman in her 80s linked to the Park Manor Care home.
- A Winnipeg man in his 80s linked to Fred Douglas Lodge.
- A Winnipeg woman in her 80s.
- A woman in her 90s from the Southern Health region, linked to the Rest Haven Nursing Home.
These deaths bring the death toll in Manitoba to 499 since the start of the pandemic. There have been 21,264 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba.
The number of patients in hospital continues to put strain on the province's health system, Manitoba Shared Health Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said at a news conference on Monday.
"The acuity of the patients remains high, and often requires complex interventions," she said.
There are 386 COVID-19 patients in hospital — 303 of them infectious and 83 non-infectious — and 39 in intensive care units (ICU), down from 43 on Sunday. Data on hospitalizations and ICU admissions in the Prairie Mountain Health region were not available Monday due to technical issues, the province said.
In the last week, 83 health-care workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and after clearing a data backlog, 284 additional cases among health-care workers have been added to the province's total. There have now been 1,348 confirmed cases in health-care workers since the start of the pandemic.
Although it is too early to tell if case numbers in Manitoba are moving in the right direction, there are some early signs that the trend is moving downward, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said.
"Our test positivity isn't dropping as quickly as we wanted it to ... but when we plot our absolute case numbers we do see that trend slowly down," he said.
A total of 2,133 tests were done on Sunday.
A new testing site opened in the Garrick Centre in Winnipeg on Monday. That site will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and will better serve the city's downtown residents, Siragusa said.
Vaccine rollout begins this week
Meanwhile, health-care workers are preparing for the first COVID-19 vaccinations, which will happen Wednesday.
The province will receive enough doses to vaccinate around 900 people, with the first doses going to front-line critical care workers.
WATCH | Roussin apologizes for long wait times for initial screening:
A phone line set up for health-care workers to book appointments was inundated by hundreds of thousands of calls, many of them from members of the public who were not eligible to receive the shot, which caused delays over the weekend, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said.
"Unfortunately there were many people who were not honest with the initial screening approach, so many of the call centre attendants were dealing with screening out people who tried to screen in, and that set a delay up," he said.
Delays booking appointments did not cause any delays in the vaccination program because doses have not yet arrived in the province, Roussin said.
In addition to the doses arriving this week, more are expected to arrive in Manitoba as early as next week.
"We know that in the coming months demand for this vaccine is going to be much higher than supply," Roussin said.
WATCH | Strict eligibility criteria for vaccine at first, says Dr. Brent Roussin:
About two-thirds of the available vaccination appointments were filled by around noon on Monday, and the rest were expected to be filled by the end of the day.
Meanwhile, Health Sciences Centre has launched virtual home monitoring for COVID-19 patients who are self-isolating or have been sent home from the hospital.
Patients meet virtually with their care team and a physician monitors their symptoms.
The program supports patients who may need oxygen at home after being discharged, Siragusa said.
"We expect this will help with patient flow and also increase our ability to care for patients where they're at, closer to home whenever possible," she said.
WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Dec. 14, 2020: