Steinbach's test positivity rate hits 40%
Manitoba tops 200 deaths on 1st day of tightened restrictions on gatherings, sale of non-essential items
UPDATE: It was initially reported that a man in his 20s was among the deaths, marking the youngest COVID-19 death in Manitoba during the pandemic. However, the province later said its report of the man's death was a mistake due to a data error and that in fact, the man was still alive. The following story has been corrected to reflect those changes and this story about the error was published.
Manitoba health officials say there are 438 new COVID-19 cases Friday and listed nine more deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 207.
"This is tragic to see all of these listings every single day now," said Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin. "These are not just numbers."
A record 281 people are in hospital, up from 263 yesterday, and the provincial test positivity rate dropped to 13.7 per cent, down from 14 on Thursday.
A record 281 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, with 43 of them in intensive care.
The 10-day test positivity rate in the Steinbach health district is at 40 per cent, and there have been 24 Steinbach deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, Roussin said.
WATCH | Roussin outlines 'disproportionate' spread in Southern Health:
Winnipeg's test positivity is at 13.7 per cent.
"When you're looking at something like 40 per cent … this is a very concerning number," Roussin said.
With a population of just over 21,000, the Steinbach health district has among the most COVID-19 cases per capita in Canada.
In recent days, Roussin and the premier have both chastised the 100-plus people at a Steinbach protest against the provincewide code red restrictions on the weekend.
Those restrictions, which closed retailers that don't sell essential goods, came into effect last Thursday. They also closed places such as salons, places of worship, theatres, gyms, recreational centres and a range of non-essential businesses. Bars and restaurants in Winnipeg had been forced closed a few weeks earlier.
Manitoba Shared Health Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals has increased 338 per cent in less than four weeks. The current patients include a baby, she said.
A total of 872 non-elective and elective surgeries have been postponed in the past 25 days in order to divert resources to the strained hospital system, she said.
Families help care home
So far at least 27 care homes have been affected by outbreaks, said Siragusa, noting a single positive case in long-term care facilities constitutes an outbreak.
Golden Links Lodge in Winnipeg recently brought in paramedics and asked family members to pitch in, Siragusa said. Families have been given personal protective equipment and asked to help monitor their own loved ones.
There will be training and education for family members and an infection control team to support them, she said.
"It's probably good for both the caregiver and the resident to have each other close by," she said. "I think they've put the safeguards in place and considered the human factor of this outbreak."
WATCH | Those in hospital with COVID-19 include teens, baby:
Three deaths tied to the care home were reported on Wednesday, and Siragusa said Friday that 42 residents have tested positive.
A logistics team is organizing plans for off-site locations for lower acuity non-COVID-19 hospital patients due to the pressure on hospitals, Siragusa said. A date hasn't been set yet for when the first of those sites could open; it's tied to whether hospitalization rates continue to climb.
'We need to do better'
Roussin recalled the restrictions in the spring in Manitoba and how Winnipeg's streets seemed mostly empty on his drives to work early in the pandemic.
Not so amid the second wave, he said.
"My drive to work today, the streets were full," he said at the Friday news conference.
"Our current restrictions are much more stringent than they were in the spring. We are at a critical juncture right now. Our hospitals are reaching capacity. We need to do better, all of us."
WATCH | Roussin urges vigilance as province tops 200 deaths:
The news conference happened the same day new restrictions against private gatherings and shopping took effect, and just over a week after the entire province went into a code red partial lockdown under Manitoba's pandemic response system.
More than 80 COVID-19 deaths have been reported since the province went into code red. Manitoba had reported a total of 100 deaths less than two weeks ago.
Strain on the health-care system is one of the main factors that influenced the tighter rules announced Thursday, which ban gatherings in households and ban in-store shopping for non-essential items.
The new public health order came into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, prohibiting people from having anyone at their homes who doesn't reside there. There are a few exceptions.
Also as of 12:01 a.m. Friday, businesses are prohibited from selling non-essential items in-store. Pickup and delivery of such items are still allowed. Businesses also must have non-essential items removed from shelves or cordoned off by 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
The new orders are in effect until Dec. 11.
Public gatherings remain limited to five people, though Roussin has urged Manitobans to avoid close contact with anyone they don't live with.
'Can't sustain these numbers'
The province also announced a social media campaign Friday aimed at encouraging Manitobans to support local businesses amid the tightened restrictions.
There have been 12,919 cases in Manitoba as of Friday. That number has more than doubled since the beginning of the month, and Manitoba has seen nearly 3,000 new cases in the past week.
Roussin repeated again Friday that Manitobans need to stay home and leave only for essential reasons
Even more restrictions may be on the way if conditions don't improve in the next week, he said.
"We just can't sustain these numbers much longer," he said.
WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Nov. 20, 2020:
- An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that a man in his 20s was among the deaths reported Friday. In fact, the province later corrected that information and said the man was ill with COVID-19 but had not died of the illness.Nov 25, 2020 4:09 PM CT