Manitoba hit a grim COVID-19 milestone Friday, surpassing 10,000 cases and reporting another five deaths from the virus.
With 437 new cases identified as of Friday morning, Manitoba’s total number of cases reported since March rose to 10,216.
The latest deaths bring the province’s death toll to 137 and Manitoba’s five-day test positivity continued its record-setting rise, hitting 11.6 per cent.
In Winnipeg, where 260 new cases were reported, the five-day test positivity rate spiked to 12.2 per cent, another record for the city.
Manitoba’s chief public officer of health, Dr. Brent Roussin, said the province has reported 97 deaths, 412 hospitalizations, and 818 cases linked to healthcare facilities, personal care homes and correctional facilities in just the last 30 days.
“We know moving forward this is a critical time for us in Manitoba,” he said.
“We need to make necessary changes now, to bring these numbers down.”
Roussin said hospitals are nearing capacity and the province’s health-care system is feeling the strain as the province set another record for hospitalizations with 231 in hospital Friday, including who 34 are in ICU with the virus.
The province has been struggling to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus since it started spiking in recent weeks after a summer lull. There have been more than 2,800 cases in the last week and 28 deaths in the past four days.
The sharp rise in cases and record number of hospitalizations have put the health-care system under strain. Intensive care beds, including those occupied by non-COVID-patients, are running close to capacity.
There have been outbreaks in long-term care homes and hospitals, and widespread community transmission.
Friday’s deaths include a woman in her 40s from the Northern Health region, a woman in her 60s from the Interlake-Eastern Health region, two men from the Winnipeg Health region in their 60s and 80s, and a woman in her 80s connected to a deadly and ongoing outbreak at Maples Personal Care Home in Winnipeg.
Four of the nine deaths reported Thursday were also connected to Maples PCH, where dozens of others have lost their lives and provincial data showed 197 cases were centred as of Thursday.
Earlier in the day Friday the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said a review of the Maples found breaches of rules such as the proper use of personal protective equipment.
The authority also said documentation of the feeding and hydration of residents was not properly maintained.
The authority said it has someone on site daily now, and the review of the facility will continue.
In addition to efforts by the WRHA to stabilize the situation, Red Cross workers were receiving orientation training Friday.
As of Thursday provincial data showed 564 cases were connected to outbreaks declared at 34 different personal care homes across the province, but that list grew on Friday as new outbreaks were declared at Gilbert Plains Personal Care Home in Gilbert Plains and Golden Links Lodge in Winnipeg.
Health officials said further outbreaks have been declared at Brooklyn Terrace condominium complex in Steinbach, Adult and Teen Challenge in Winnipeg, and Reston School in Reston, and the Seymour Pacific Developments Ltd. worksite in Brandon.
Friday’s new cases came from around the province, with 33 reported in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 28 reported in the Northern health region, 20 identified in the Prairie Mountain health region, and 96 coming from the Southern health region.
Manitoba has the largest per-capita caseload of active infections in the country with 6,307 in its population of just under 1.4 million people.
Health officials said Friday new drive-up COVID-19 testing sites are opening in Winnipeg and Portage.
Winnipeg’s new site is at Assiniboia Downs (3975 Portage Ave) opens Friday while the Portage site at the Manitoba Public Insurance building (2007 Saskatchewan Ave) opens Monday.
A list of testing sites across the province, and their hours is available on the province’s website.
Provincial data shows 3,335 tests for COVID0-19 were completed Thursday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 303,559.
–With files from 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.
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