Intensive care unit number hits 4th-wave high as Manitoba reports 14 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday

Manitoba reports 14 more people have died due to COVID-19 and hospitalizations fell by nine on Thursday on the provincial government's online dashboard.

Currently 111 patients in ICUs, including 51 with COVID-19; total hospitalizations drop by 9 to 711

Hospitalizations have begun falling in Manitoba after setting a string of new records over the past several weeks. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Manitoba reports 14 more people have died due to COVID-19 and hospitalizations in the province fell by nine on Thursday.

This is the second day in a row that hospitalizations have fallen, after making an almost-uninterrupted climb over the past several weeks. There are now 711 patients in hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the most recent update on the province's COVID-19 dashboard.

The number of patients in intensive care units — counting both those with COVID-19 and those who do not have the illness — reached a new high for the fourth wave off the pandemic, with 111 patients in total, a Shared Health spokesperson said in an email to CBC.  That number is up by six from Wednesday.

The province's pre-pandemic baseline ICU capacity was 72.

The number of patients in intensive care units with COVID-19 rose by two to 51.

With the latest deaths, Manitoba's total rose to 1,538. So far in January, 148 people have died due to COVID-19, making this Manitoba's fourth-deadliest month of the pandemic.

The province's five-day test-positivity rate fell to 30.6 per cent, down from 32.4 per cent.

Another 582 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by PCR tests, although that significantly undercounts the true number because the province has restricted access to testing.

Of the confirmed cases, 300 are in the Winnipeg health region, 97 are in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 81 are in the Northern Health Region, 53 are in Prairie Mountain Health and 51 are in Southern Health.

The new COVID-19 cases bring the province's total to 117,971. Currently, 28,951 cases are listed as active, but that number is also likely a significant undercount.

Labs in Manitoba completed 1,769 COVID-19 tests on Wednesday.

There have been 152 more cases linked to schools since the province's numbers were last updated on Tuesday — 78 among students and 74 among staff.

There have now been a total of 5,533 school-related cases since Sept. 7 — 4,024 among students and 1,509 staff cases.

As of Thursday, 85.5 per cent of eligible Manitobans have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 79.1 per cent have two doses, and 39.2 per cent have had three doses, according to the province's website.