Manitoba

Woman in 30s among 14 COVID-19 deaths as Manitoba sees lowest daily case tally in weeks

There were 221 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Thursday, a provincial news release says.

Provincial test positivity rate falls to lowest level in a month

There are 221 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Thursday. (Erik White/CBC)

Manitoba posted its lowest daily total of new COVID-19 cases in more than a month on Thursday, as well as the lowest five-day test-positivity rate since mid-November.

Public health officials announced 14 more deaths related to the illness, along with 221 new cases. That's the lowest single-day jump in cases since Nov. 3, when 103 new cases were reported.

The provincial test positivity fell to 13 per cent, down from 13.6 per cent and reaching its lowest level since Nov. 15. The rate in Winnipeg Thursday was 13.2 per cent.

Despite those signs of improvement, health leaders say medical and intensive care units are still strained by the number of patients they're seeing.

"I certainly don't feel like we're out of the woods yet," said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Manitoba Shared Health.

The deaths announced Thursday include a woman in her 30s from the Southern Health region.

Half of the deaths are linked to outbreaks in personal care homes, including three — a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 90s — from the Charleswood Care Centre.

Other care home deaths include:

  • A man in his 80s linked to Kin Place.
  • A man in his 90s connected to the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg.
  • A woman in her 90s and a woman in her 100s linked to the Maples Personal Care Home.
At the current pace, Manitoba is expected to surpass last month's death totals in the coming days. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Manitoba's total COVID-19 death toll is now 537, including 226 so far in December — already approaching the 242 recorded in November, the deadliest month of the pandemic.

The total number of COVID-19 patients in hospital fell to 384, with 314 still infectious. There are 48 patients in intensive care units, 42 of whom are infectious. 

The province's critical-care system is currently operating at 158 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 capacity, Siragusa said.

Significant shifts in the number of people in hospital or dying from COVID-19 typically follow about 14 days behind a shift in total case numbers, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said. 

If the current trend of falling daily case numbers continues, within two to three weeks, "we're going to expect to see that translate into decreasing admissions as well, and then deaths can be along that same line," he said.

Holy Family opening wing for northern First Nation

Holy Family care home in Winnipeg is opening a wing to offer temporary accommodation to residents of a care home in a remote northern First Nations community.

Holy Family has had one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks at a Manitoba care home, with 19 deaths. In a letter to families on Wednesday, the care home said no new cases had been identified, and that residents from the First Nation would stay in a vacant floor isolated from other residents and staff at the home.

Siragusa declined to say which First Nations community the residents were coming from.

"A lot of work has gone on trying to identify where the best place is for these COVID-positive [personal care home] residents," she said. "We believe this is the safe and best option."

She said the care home is bringing in separate staff to care for them, and necessary supplies such as hand cleaner and personal protective equipment have been provided.

The number of cases listed as active in Manitoba is 5,829 and 15,681 people have recovered, the province says, but those numbers may still be inflated by a data backlog. 

A total of 22,047 people have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic. 

Labs completed 2,235 tests on Wednesday.

Outbreaks have been declared at the Portage District General Hospital medical unit in Portage la Prairie and Middlechurch Home of Winnipeg. 

Meanwhile, outbreaks at Concordia Hospital's Unit N2 East and Health Science Centre's GA3 and GD4 units have been declared over. All outbreaks at Health Sciences Centre are now over, while outbreaks at Concordia Hospital's N3 West and N3 East units remains active. 

Half of the new cases announced Thursday (111) are in the Winnipeg health region. The total also includes 51 from the Northern Health Region, 27 from Southern Health, 21 from Interlake-Eastern and 11 from Prairie Mountain Health.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cameron MacLean is a journalist for CBC Manitoba living in Winnipeg, where he was born and raised. He has more than a decade of experience reporting in the city and across Manitoba, covering a wide range of topics, including courts, politics, housing, arts, health and breaking news. Email story tips to cameron.maclean@cbc.ca.

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