Manitoba’s COVID-19 case count and death toll continued to rise Monday with 343 new cases identified and 11 additional deaths reported.
The latest numbers come after a weekend that saw 852 new cases and 21 deaths, including the province’s youngest victim of the virus, a boy under the age of 10 from Winnipeg.
“We continue to announce many deaths, every day, today again into the double digits — I think we all know that we cannot continue along these lines,” Manitoba’s chief public officer of health, Dr. Brent Roussin, said at a Monday press conference.
“We have to bring these numbers down, we can’t keep losing this many Manitobans.”
Roussin said the young victim reported Saturday had not acquired the virus at school and did have underlying conditions, but added “just like with all of our other cases, that doesn’t diminish the loss.”
Monday’s deaths include:
- a male in his 30s from the Winnipeg health region;
- a female in her 40s from the Winnipeg health region;
- a female in her 70s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Health Science Centre unit GA3;
- a female in her 80s from the Prairie Mountain Health region, linked to the outbreak at Fairview Personal Care Home;
- a male in his 80s from the Prairie Mountain Health region, linked to the outbreak at Fairview Personal Care Home;
- a male in his 80s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud region, linked to the outbreak at Villa Youville Personal Care Home;
- a male in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Charleswood Care Centre;
- a male in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Golden Links Lodge;
- a female in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at St. Norbert Personal Care Home;
- a female in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region; and
- a male in his 90s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud region, linked to the outbreak at the Bridgepark Manor assisted living facility.
Of the now 312 Manitobans with COVID-19 who have died since March, 247 — nearly 80 per cent — died in the month of November.
Monday’s new infections include 207 cases in the Winnipeg Health region, 53 cases in the Southern Health region, 14 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 46 cases in the Northern Health region, and 23 cases in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.
Since March, Manitoba has reported 16,825 lab-confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.
As he has done for weeks, Roussin asked Manitobans to stay home unless absolutely necessary to help stop the virus from spreading.
He said the rising caseloads are stretching Manitoba’s health-care system to the limits as hospitalization due to COVID-19 hit record-setting numbers again Monday.
As of Monday, there were 342 people in hospital, with 43 people in intensive care due to COVID-19.
Manitoba’s chief nursing officer said as of Monday Manitoba’s ICUs are running at 145 per cent above their normal baseline before COVID-19 hit, with 105 critical care beds in use and only five beds left available.
Lanette Siragusa also said health officials were looking at opening up a new 14-bed intensive care unit in a Winnipeg hospital.
Last week 27 more health-care workers tested positive for COVID-19, Siragusa said, bringing the total number of health-care workers who have contracted the virus since March to 743.
“Our health system is at risk of being overwhelmed if we can’t reduce these daily case counts,” she said.
Health officials said Monday new outbreaks have been declared at the Lakeshore General Hospital in Ashern and West Park Manor Personal Care Home in Winnipeg.
Meanwhile, previously declared outbreaks at at the Women’s Correctional Centre in Headingley and the Keeyask Generating Station near Thompson have ended, the province said.
In an effort to stem rising cases, the government forced many non-essential retail outlets to close and banned public gatherings of more than five people on Nov. 12.
That has prevented the daily number of new COVID-19 cases count from rising higher, Roussin said, citing projections of up to 1,000 cases a day by early December. But the number has remained steady rather than dropping. The percentage of people testing positive has also remained very high at 13 per cent.
The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 13.4 per cent provincially and 12.7 per cent in Winnipeg as of Monday morning.
“We need to decrease the number of contacts we have, and that’s just a given,” Roussin said.
“We have a fairly consistent secondary attack rate about 14 per cent of contacts will develop COVID. And so if we decrease the amount of total contacts, we’re going to decrease the amount of cases.”
–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.
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