COVID-19 hospitalizations climb to highest yet in 4th wave as 6 deaths, 494 cases reported over 3 days

Manitoba's COVID-19 outlook continues to worsen as Monday saw the province hit its single highest daily case count since June and the most COVID-19 patients in hospital so far during the fourth wave of the pandemic.

Saturday had highest daily case count since June with 183 cases

Manitoba's fourth wave continues to grow. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Manitoba's COVID-19 outlook continues to worsen as Monday saw the province hit its single highest daily case count since June and the most COVID-19 patients in hospital so far during the fourth wave of the pandemic.

Public health officials announced 494 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths over the past three days, including 183 on Saturday. The last time numbers were higher was June 18, when there were 189 cases.

There were 155 cases identified on Sunday and 156 on Monday.

Hospitalizations have also increased, from 118 COVID-19 patients three days ago to 141 on Monday — the highest number yet in the fourth wave. That jump comes as roughly 130,000 Manitobans continue to wait for surgeries and diagnostic procedures delayed during past waves of the pandemic. 

There are now 93 patients in intensive care units in the province, 26 of them COVID-19 patients. Manitoba's pre-pandemic capacity was 72 ICU beds.

The provincial test positivity rate climbed from 4.7 per cent on Friday to 5.4 per cent on Monday.

The bulk of the 494 cases over the past three days are from Southern Health, the region with the lowest vaccination rates in the province and where only 15 per cent of the population lives.

Of the 156 cases announced Monday, just over half were in people who haven't been fully vaccinated:

  • 32 of 56 new cases in Southern Health.
  • 25 of 53 new cases in Winnipeg.
  • 17 of 31 new cases in Prairie Mountain Health.
  • Three of nine new cases in Interlake-Eastern.
  • Three of seven new cases in the Northern Health Region.

Unvaccinated drive up hospitalizations

The latest data continues to suggest that Manitoba's fourth wave case numbers and hospitalizations are being driven by people who aren't fully vaccinated.

Of 1,377 active cases, 57 per cent have not received a shot, while 37 per cent have received both. Six per cent are partly vaccinated.

A total of 112 of the 141 COVID-19 patients in hospital have active infections, and of those, 55 per cent haven't received a single dose. Thirty-nine per cent have received at least two, and five per cent have received one.

Meanwhile, among the 18 people in ICU who still have active COVID-19 infections (eight of the 26 people in ICU no longer have active COVID-19), 89 per cent have not received a dose and 11 per cent have received at least two.

CBC News asked the province what it plans to do to curb the growing daily case counts and hospitalizations.

A Manitoba Health spokesperson said officials are monitoring the situation closely.

"Changes to public health orders are always an option," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"Our government continues to encourage all Manitobans to get vaccinated if you're eligible, follow the public health orders and practice the fundamentals. If you are not feeling well, stay home and get yourself tested."

    High numbers in Southern Health

    Manitoba is among the Canadian jurisdictions with the highest overall vaccine uptake among eligible residents. As of Monday, just shy of 84 per cent of eligible Manitobans had received both doses.

    Experts warned months ago that a fourth wave driven by the highly contagious delta variant was most likely to find the unvaccinated pockets. That appears to be happening.

    The Southern Health region has 15 per cent of Manitoba's population, but nearly half of the active cases in the province. The Southern Health vaccination rate is 68.4 per cent, the lowest among Manitoba's five regions; the next closest is Prairie Mountain at 82.9 per cent.

    Data released on Friday says the Southern Health region's test positivity rates were significantly higher than all others, at 14.5 per cent.

    The six deaths over the three days include two women whose deaths were reported Saturday — one in her 70s and the other in her 80s — from the Prairie Mountain Health region, with the older woman linked to an outbreak at Benito Personal Care Home. At least three people from Benito have died in recent weeks.

    A man and a woman, both from Southern Health and in their 70s, also died Saturday.

    A woman from Southern Health in her 80s died Sunday, as did a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region.

    Three deaths were reported via the provincial COVID-19 dashboard on Friday, but no details were provided about the sex and age of those individuals.

    A provincial news release on Monday says the death of a woman in her 40s from the Northern Health Region was reported Friday, as was the death of a woman in her 90s linked to the Benito care home outbreak in Prairie Mountain Health.

    The death of a man in his 70s from Prairie Mountain Health was also reported Friday. His death is tied to an outbreak at the Health Sciences Centre GD4 unit in Winnipeg.


    Bryce Hoye


    Bryce Hoye is a multi-platform Manitoba journalist covering news, science, justice, health, 2SLGBTQ issues and other community stories. He has a background in wildlife biology and occasionally works for CBC's Quirks & Quarks and Front Burner. He won a national Radio Television Digital News Association award for a 2017 feature on the history of the fur trade. He is also Prairie rep for outCBC.

    With files from Bartley Kives