Record-breaking 16 deaths as Manitoba reports 283 new COVID-19 cases
Premier Brian Pallister says his 'gut feeling' is restrictions will likely remain in place past Dec. 11
A grim new record of 16 deaths due to COVID-19 were posted on Tuesday, as the province added 283 new cases to its total.
"We know that these are much more than numbers. These are people who are missed right now," Roussin said. "And we know that we can't continue to read lists such as this daily."
Half of the deaths are related to outbreaks, including three from Holy Family personal care home in Winnipeg — two men, in their 80s and 90s, and a woman in her 100s.
Other outbreak deaths are connected to Fairview Personal Care Home, Fred Douglas Lodge, Buhler Active Living Centre, Golden Links Lodge and Gilbert Plains personal care home.
Manitoba has now had 328 deaths due to COVID-19.
This is the first time since Nov. 22 that the province has announced fewer than 300 new cases in a single day.
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Although Roussin said that marks an improvement from where Manitoba could have been at this point — models indicated the province could have seen 1,000 cases per day without any interventions — it's too early to say whether public health restrictions will be lifted, or extended beyond the expiry date of Dec. 11.
"We were really wanting to see those total numbers come down ... so that we relieve the strain on the health-care system. And so we're still working on it," he said.
Asked at a news conference earlier on Tuesday whether he felt it would be necessary to extend the restrictions beyond Dec. 11, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said he would defer to Roussin.
"My gut feeling is that as we get into winter, it's going to be critical that we continue with a high level of restrictions for some time, and I would encourage Manitobans to understand that."
A new poll from the Angus Reid Institute released Tuesday suggests that Pallister has the lowest approval rating of any Canadian provincial leader, at 32 per cent.
New hospital outbreaks
The current provincial test positivity rate is 13.1 per cent, a drop of 0.3 percentage points from Monday's 13.4 per cent.
The new cases bring the province's total number of confirmed cases to 17,107 since the start of the pandemic.
There were 338 COVID-19 positive patients in hospital, four fewer than the record high of 342 set on Monday, while 48 patients are currently in intensive care units.
New outbreaks have been declared at three Winnipeg hospitals, including Unit 2 South at Grace Hospital, the third unit at that hospital to have an outbreak declared since Nov. 21.
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Health officials also declared outbreaks at Seven Oaks General Hospital Family Medical Unit 5U4-7 and Concordia Hospital N2 East. There are also active outbreaks at Victoria General Hospital and Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, while an outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital was declared over on Nov. 23.
The outbreak at Carman Memorial Hospital has been declared over.
Strict lockdown measures limiting the movement of people have been lifted in Pimicikamak Cree Nation and Peguis First Nation because the measures "have had the desired effect and the risk of COVID-19 transmission has stabilized," although all general public health orders remain in place, the province said in a news release.
November was by far the worst month of the pandemic so far in Manitoba, with record numbers of deaths, hospitalizations and new cases.
Although daily cases appear to have levelled off, the province continues to announce hundreds of new infections every day.
"Our hospitals are reaching capacity. Our health-care workers are overwhelmed," Roussin said
More than two weeks have passed since the entire province went to critical red, the highest level on the pandemic response system.
Visiting in homes has been all but banned, and the stores that are still allowed to open to the public have been forced to block off non-essential items, in an effort to encourage Manitobans to stay home as much as possible.
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