COVID-19, flu and RSV numbers in Manitoba drop for 4th week in a row

Manitoba rates of COVID-19, RSV and the flu dropped for the fourth week in a row, according to the latest data from the province.

Deaths, hospitalizations, cases and test positivity rates dropped for week of Jan. 22-28: provincial report

A closeup of a toddler being examined by a doctor holding a stethoscope to the young boy's chest.
COVID-19 and flu rates continued to decline through to the end of January, according to the latest provincial surveillance information. (Syda Productions/Shutterstock)

Manitoba's rates of COVID-19, RSV and the flu have dropped for the fourth week in a row, according to the latest data from the province.

Six people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the week of Jan. 22-28, the province's latest weekly report says, compared to seven one week earlier and 28 the week before that.

Intensive care unit admissions for COVID-19 dropped to two, down from three during the week of Jan. 15-21 and six from Jan. 8-14.

The total number of reported COVID-19 deaths climbed by 10 in the latest data, compared to an increase of 15 the week before.

Weekly test positivity rates decreased slightly to 10.5 per cent from 11.3 per cent. 

There were 62 reported COVID-19 cases for the week of Jan. 22-28 — up slightly from 59 the week before, but just less than half of the 122 cases reported for the Jan. 8-14 period.

However, reported cases are considered to be a significant undercount, since the province only reports cases confirmed through PCR testing, which is limited.

Flu activity in Manitoba also continues to decline: test positivity rates slid to 0.5 per cent from 0.8 per cent. The rate was 1.9 per cent during the week of Jan. 8-14. 

The number of reported cases of influenza A, the most common strain in circulation, dropped to nine. There were 10 cases one week prior and 18 the week before that.

No patients were admitted to hospital or ICU for flu symptoms from Jan. 22-28. Two patients were admitted to hospital with the flu in each of the previous two weeks.

No flu-related deaths were reported for the week of Jan. 22-28.

The test positivity and case rates for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, have dropped again as well.

RSV test positivity dropped to 5.7 per cent, from 8.3 per cent and 8.7 per cent in the weeks leading up to Jan. 22-28.

The latest report includes 76 positive RSV cases, compared to 105 one week before then. 

Wastewater surveillance suggested sustained COVID-19 activity in Brandon and Winnipeg last month.

Situation at Children's Hospital improves

RSV-related admissions that hit the Children's Hospital hard in recent months also seem to be improving.

On average, 170 pediatric patients were being admitted to the hospital's emergency room daily in November. The average for January was 116, according to the latest data from the provincial health organization Shared Health on Friday.

There have been 61 RSV admissions since the new year, with nine of those patients needing ICU care.

There were a dozen RSV-related admissions of infants and toddlers during the week of Jan. 21-27, Shared Health said. Three of those children were admitted to intensive care.

Of the 107 patients to visit Children's Hospital emergency on Thursday, 30 per cent had flu-like symptoms, compared to about 50 per cent a few weeks ago.

Pediatric intensive care unit cases remain high, however. The pre-pandemic baseline for pediatric intensive care cases at the hospital was nine. As of Friday morning, there were 49 babies and one young child receiving care in the neonatal ICU, and 16 young children in pediatric ICU. There was also one pediatric patient receiving care in neonatal unit.

Children's Hospital postponed some pediatric surgeries when cases surged in recent months so that resources could be directed to caring for young RSV and flu patients.

Despite the recent improvements, baseline surgical capacity hasn't yet been ramped back up to typical levels, "as more time is needed to determine whether improved numbers are a trend that will continue," Shared Health said.