For the second time in as many days, Manitoba saw its highest-ever daily count of new COVID-19 cases Thursday, as health officials said another Manitoban has died and hospitalizations from the virus continue to climb.
In a release, the province said 193 new cases of the novel coronavirus were identified as of Thursday morning. That breaks the previous record for the most cases announced in a day set on Tuesday, when health officials said 184 cases had been identified.
The new cases bring Manitoba’s total number of reported cases to 4,894.
The latest death — a man in his 80s from the Southern health region — brings the province’s total number of COVID-19-related fatalities reported since March to 62.
The province said the man’s death isn’t connected to any current outbreaks.
Provincial data shows there are currently 2,409 active cases, while 2,423 people have recovered.
Thursday’s newly reported cases include 139 in the Winnipeg health region, 21 infections in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 10 in the Northern health region, four cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region and 19 cases in the Southern Health region.
The province’s current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 7.8 per cent, according to provincial data.
Provincial data shows 97 people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 17 in intensive care. Wednesday’s numbers showed 89 in hospital, with 19 of those in an intensive care unit.
Manitoba has now gone 10 straight days with daily case counts of 100 or more, and 19 virus-related deaths have been announced in the last eight days.
On Wednesday, when 170 new cases and three deaths were announced, health officials warned that the climbing cases numbers are taking a toll on health care.
The occupancy rate of intensive care beds had risen to 92 per cent as of Wednesday, Manitoba’s chief nursing officer said.
Meanwhile, new outbreaks have been declared at the medicine unit of Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach and KeKiNan Centre, an assistant-living facility in Winnipeg.
All units and facilities have been moved to critical, or red, on the province’s pandemic response system, the province said.
The outbreaks come as Collège Louis-Riel announced late Wednesday it will be sending its students home and closing its doors for two weeks after a rise in COVID-19 cases.
On Thursday the province confirmed an outbreak at the St Jean Baptiste Street school in Winnipeg and said there are seven cases linked to the facility.
Health officials said 10 school cohorts from Collège Louis-Riel are self-isolating, as well as other staff and students, and transmission sources are being investigated.
A full list of recent possible public COVID-19 exposures is available on the province’s website.
Earlier in the day Thursday, the province announced a new drive-thru testing site is set to open in Winnipeg.
The new site will open Saturday at the Manitoba Public Insurance building at 125 King Edward St. The site will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and the province says it’s expected to provide as many as 400 extra tests a day once it’s up and running.
The province says further new drive-thru and drive-up testing sites are expected to open in Winnipeg, Winkler, Portage la Prairie and Arborg in the coming days and weeks. Details about locations will be provided as sites prepare to open, the province says.
A full list of testing sites across Manitoba is available on the province’s website.
Health officials said 3,375 tests for COVID-19 were completed Wednesday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 251,461.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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