Manitoba posts lowest COVID-19 daily tally since October with 92 new cases

Public health officials announced eight more deaths and 92 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Tuesday, the lowest daily case count since Oct. 19.

Outbreaks at Maples, Parkview Place care homes declared over

A public health nurse draws COVID-19 vaccine into syringes at the Health Sciences Centre in December. On Monday, 120 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were administered at Oakview Personal Care Home in Winnipeg, health officials said. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

There are eight more deaths and 92 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Tuesday, the lowest daily jump in new cases since Oct. 19.

Nearly half of the new cases — 44 — are in the Winnipeg health region. The rest are spread among the Prairie Mountain Health region (22), the Interlake-Eastern health region (nine), the Northern Health Region (nine) and the Southern Health region (eight).

Dr. Jazz Atwal, the acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, said in a phone call with reporters Tuesday that the numbers show Manitoba's pandemic restrictions are paying off.

"It's significant. It's encouraging. The numbers are coming down, our hospitalizations are coming down. It's a testament to the hard work and dedication of Manitobans to adhere to the orders," he said.

The total number of deaths related to the novel coronavirus is 748. 

A death of a woman in her 80s linked to an outbreak at the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg that was originally reported on Sunday was a data error. The person is alive and recovering from the virus.

"We apologize for this and any confusion it may have caused," Atwal said.

Four of the deaths reported Tuesday are linked to outbreaks at health-care facilities and care homes: a woman in her 70s linked to an outbreak at the McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre; a man in his 70s from the Southeast Personal Care Home in Winnipeg; a woman in her 90s from the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg; and a woman in her 90s from Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home in Winnipeg.

A man in his 50s from the Northern Health region, a woman in her 80s from the Interlake-Eastern health region and two men from Winnipeg, in their 70s and 80s, also died.

The number of people in hospital with the virus is coming down.

Hospitalizations drop

There are 302 people in hospital who tested positive for COVID-19, down from 316 the day before. Of those, 35 are in intensive care, down from 37 on Monday.

The five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the percentage of tests that come back positive — jumped slightly to 10.1 per cent provincially on Tuesday, but dropped to 8.4 per cent in Winnipeg. 

A total of 26,540 cases have been identified in Manitoba, with 22,692 considered recovered and 3,100 still deemed active, though provincial officials have said the latter number is likely inflated because of a data entry backlog. 

Case counts have fallen in recent weeks, down from daily numbers in the 200s and 300s in the weeks leading up to the holidays.

However, public health officials have urged Manitobans not to become complacent and to continue following public health orders. The latest health orders, which require non-essential businesses to remain closed, were extended for another two weeks last Friday.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical officer of health for Manitoba Health and a member of Manitoba's COVID-19 vaccine implementation task force, said she doesn't have numbers on how many doses of the vaccine the province wants to administer per day or per week, nor can she say how many people have been hired to work at vaccination centres.

She said 120 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were administered at Oakview Personal Care Home on Monday.

The vaccination program has begun to expand beyond the supersite at the Winnipeg convention centre, as more groups have become eligible to receive their first doses.

The first shipments of the Moderna vaccine started arriving in First Nations communities last week, and immunization teams began work at personal care homes across the province on Monday.

Reimer says she's working with First Nations partners to determine how many people have been vaccinated so far.

More information is expected to come out in a bulletin on Wednesday.

The months-long outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home is now over, public health officials say. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Outbreaks over at Maples, Parkview Place

The province announced a new outbreak on Tuesday at St. Paul's Personal Care Home in Dauphin.

The site has been moved to the red, or "restricted," level of the province's colour-coded pandemic response system.

However, a number of outbreaks are now over, including two of the worst in the province to date, at the Maples and Parkview Place long-term care homes in Winnipeg.

The facilities, which are owned by the company Revera, saw the deadliest outbreaks at Manitoba care homes. Parkview Place had 165 cases in total and 29 deaths during its outbreak, while Maples had 230 cases during the outbreak, leading to 55 deaths, according to provincial data.

Outbreaks are also over at the Manitoba Developmental Centre in Portage la Prairie, Maplewood Manor in Steinbach, Middlechurch Home of Winnipeg, and at several locations in Winnipeg: the E6 patient care unit at St. Boniface Hospital, Concordia Hospital Unit N3E, Health Sciences Centre Unit GH4, and Riverview Health Centre.