Manitoba’s COVID-19 death toll continued to rise Monday as the province reported three more deaths as well as 365 new cases of the virus, and health officials warned more public health restrictions may be coming soon.
The latest deaths include a man in his 70s and another in his 90s from the Southern Health region, and a woman in her 80s from Winnipeg health officials say is linked to an ongoing outbreak at Victoria General Hospital.
The new cases include 233 in Winnipeg and bring the province’s total number of cases reported since March to 8,495.
There were 192 people in hospital with 28 in intensive care as of Monday, and the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 109.
Manitoba’s chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa said Monday a health care worker has died from COVID-19 as a result of the one of the ongoing hospital outbreaks. She said in the past week alone 44 health care workers have tested positive for the virus.
Siragusa said the province is looking to expand its rapid testing for health care workers, telling reporters results would come in four to six hours and would only be used for symptomatic health care workers scheduled to work in next 72 hours.
In recent weeks outbreaks have been declared at three separate Winnipeg hospitals — Victoria General, the Health Sciences Centre, and St. Boniface — although health officials said an outbreak at the B5 unit at St. Boniface is now over.
But new outbreaks were declared Monday at Bethania Mennonite personal care home in Winnipeg, Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg, St. Amant Health and Transition Services in Winnipeg and Extendicare Tuxedo Villa personal care home in Winnipeg.
Siragusa said as of Monday 80 of the province’s 85 ICU beds are in use and 21 COVID-19 patients are on ventilators, or about a third of all patients on ventilators.
She said a planned ICU bed expansion has started in Winnipeg.
Manitoba’s chief public officer of health, Dr. Brent Roussin said weeks of steadily rising case counts — including more than 2,000 in the last week — has put an increasing demand on the health system and left the province at “critical point.”
He said he met with Premier Brian Pallister on Monday morning to discuss putting further public health orders in place, adding there are a number of non-essential businesses that are still allowed to operate that might be forced to close if more restrictions come.
The greater Winnipeg area and southern health region are already under stricter restrictions than other areas, such as having restaurants and bars closed except for delivery and takeout services.
Federal government figures show Manitoba continues to lead the country in per-capita active cases.
‘We are going to get clear answers’
The news comes after health officials reported 10 deaths across the province over the weekend and paramedics in Winnipeg responded to 18 separate 911 calls for help over a 24-hour span related to an ongoing and deadly outbreak at Maples Personal Care Home.
The first 911 call from Maples Personal Care Home came in at 7:10 p.m. Friday. By the time the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service left shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday, at least two people were dead of COVID-19.
According to data provided by the private company that runs Maples PCH, at least twenty-two patients have died of COVID-19 since the virus infiltrated the personal care home less than two weeks ago.
Last week the province confirmed it had called in the Canadian Red Cross at both Maples and Parkview Place Personal Care Home, the site of another deadly COVID-19 outbreak in Winnipeg. The help is expected to arrive by Friday.
Earlier Monday Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman called on the province to consider all options — including calling in the military — to help out at the facility.
Over the weekend Gina Trinidad, the WRHA’s chief operating officer of long-term care, said there are no plans to deploy the military.
On Sunday, Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen said he has called for an immediate investigation at Maples Personal Care Home.
Asked about the situation at Maples Monday afternoon, Roussin said the situation has raised a lot of red flags.
“We are going to get clear answers” he said.
On Sunday the province announced 441 new COVID-19 cases as well as three additional deaths. On Saturday a record-setting seven deaths were reported, as well as 271 new cases.
Monday’s list of new cases includes 233 in the Winnipeg Health region, 91 in the Southern Health region, nine in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 16 in the Northern Health region, and 16 in then Interlake-Eastern health region.
The province’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 9.5 per cent as of Monday, and 9.3 per cent in Winnipeg.
Provincial data also shows there are 5,152 known active cases and 3,234 individuals have recovered from COVID-19.
–With files from Brittany Greenslade and The Canadian Press
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.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.View link »