A woman in her 30s has become the youngest Manitoban to die of COVID-19.
The woman from the Interlake-Eastern Health region is one of seven deaths reported Tuesday, along with 270 new cases of the virus.
The new cases bring Manitoba’s total number of reported cases to 11,608 and tip the province’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate up to 13.6 per cent.
That’s up from the 13 per cent test positivity rate reported Monday, when the province announced 392 new cases and 10 additional deaths.
Since March 179 Manitobans have died from COVID-19.
Manitoba’s chief public officer of health said while the woman in her 30s who died did have some underlying conditions, that shouldn’t minimize the risk facing other young people during the pandemic.
“What we see is when we’re talking about risk, risk is a proportion, and so the risk here for younger people is certainly lower than people with underlying conditions or people over age 60, but when you start seeing hundreds and hundreds of cases a day, then now that low risk starts showing up,” Dr. Brent Roussin said Tuesday.
In Manitoba, men and women in their 20s represent almost one-fifth of all COVID-19 cases, which is on par with the trend across the country.
Roussin says right now nine of the 41 people in intensive care are under 50.
Two of the latest deaths — two women in their 90s — are linked to an outbreak at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre personal care home in Winnipeg, and one, a man in his 70s, is connected to an ongoing outbreak at Victoria General Hospital in the city.
A woman in her 70s from the Winnipeg health region, and two men in their 80s from the Southern Health region are also among the latest victims.
In Winnipeg, where 119 new cases were identified Tuesday, the five-day test positivity rate rose from Monday’s reported 12.8 per cent to 13.3 per cent.
Tuesday’s other new cases came from throughout the province, with 21 reported in Interlake-Eastern Health region, 16 identified from the Northern Health region, eight coming from the Prairie Mountain Health region, and 106 reported in the Southern Health region.
Case counts continue to rise in Manitoba and health officials have reported more than 2,700 new cases and 65 deaths in the last week alone.
Days of triple-digit increases in cases — Manitoba has reported more than 100 cases a day since Oct. 20 — is pushing the province’s health-care system to the limit, Roussin has repeatedly warned.
As of Tuesday, 240 people were in hospital with 41 people in intensive care. Provincial data shows there are currently 7,105 active cases across Manitoba.
“We know our ICUs are at capacity, we’ve extended our ICU capacity, and we know there’s ongoing strain throughout our health-care system,” Roussin said Tuesday.
“We can’t sustain these numbers. I know that these numbers, and these discussions are scary, but on the other side of that is we know exactly what to do … we’ll start to see these numbers turn around if we stay vigilant.”
Manitoba’s chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa said Monday the province added six new ICU beds to the system over the weekend, but as of early Monday 90 of the 99 critical beds available were filled.
Siragusa said Monday there were 83 patients requiring ventilators in Manitoba, and just under half of those — 37 — were COVID-19 patients.
On Tuesday Roussin said he is considering further restrictions on gatherings and business openings in an effort to stem the rising numbers.
He said the government is considering reducing the formal limit of five people for gatherings and also said the Christmas school break may be extended by a couple of weeks so that students do not return to school right after the holidays.
Earlier in the day Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said the province is hiring a private security firm to help the array of police, conservation and bylaw officers who enforce the COVID-19 restrictions.
Meanwhile the list of personal care homes where outbreaks where have been declared grew again Tuesday.
Public health officials say outbreaks have been declared at the Bridgepark Manor Assisted Living facility in Steinbach, Southeast Personal Care Home in Winnipeg, Fairview Personal Care Home in Brandon, and Winnipegosis Personal Care Home in Winnipegosis.
An outbreak has also been declared at Union Gospel Mission in Winnipeg, the province said.
The entire province moved to red on its pandemic response scale last week after deadly outbreaks in care homes and a significant increase in infections. There were a record-breaking 494 new cases reported Sunday.
–With files from The Canadian Press
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