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Record number of coronavirus deaths reported in Manitoba, but case numbers slowly dropping

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor urges people stay home as case numbers ‘too high to sustain’' Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor urges people stay home as case numbers ‘too high to sustain’
Manitoba's chief medical officer of health Dr. Brent Roussin on Tuesday again urged people to limit contacts and stay home, saying COVID-19 case numbers were "too high to sustain" after a record number of deaths in a single day were reported – 16 and 283 new confirmed cases – Dec 1, 2020

Manitoba reported a single-day record 16 COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, but the province also saw signs strict restrictions put in place to stop surging daily case counts may be starting to have an effect.

The province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin said 283 new cases had been identified as of Tuesday morning, marking just the third time in three weeks Manitoba has seen a daily case count under 300 and down from 343 new cases reported Monday.

Read more: Manitoba sees another 11 coronavirus deaths, 343 new cases reported Monday

While Roussin acknowledged Manitoba’s daily case numbers haven’t been escalating since the province forced non-essential businesses to close and banned large public gatherings Nov. 12, he said the numbers remain too high.

“We would hope that this is starting to show a more clear trend downwards,” he said at his daily COVID-19 media briefing Tuesday.

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Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Dr. Roussin says COVID-19 cases constant because number of contacts haven’t decreased enough' Coronavirus: Dr. Roussin says COVID-19 cases constant because number of contacts haven’t decreased enough
Coronavirus: Dr. Roussin says COVID-19 cases constant because number of contacts haven’t decreased enough – Nov 30, 2020

“We’ve seen the benefits that our modelling numbers weren’t reached where we thought that by this week or next week, we might be seeing a thousand cases per day, but we know that we’ve we’re not satisfied with where these numbers are right now.”

Earlier in the day Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister warned Manitobans will likely have to deal with strict COVID-19 measures into the winter.

Read more: 48% of Canadians not concerned that other countries get coronavirus vaccine 1st: poll

Pallister said some restrictions on public gatherings and business openings will have to continue beyond Friday of next week, when the current orders are to expire, because daily case counts remain too high and intensive care capacity is close to the limit.

“My gut feeling is that as we get into winter, it’s going to be critical that we continue with a high level of restrictions for some time,” Pallister said.

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“COVID doesn’t give up, and we’re seeing that all across the country.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba Premier Pallister says approval ratings are low because ‘people don’t like COVID’' Coronavirus: Manitoba Premier Pallister says approval ratings are low because ‘people don’t like COVID’
Coronavirus: Manitoba Premier Pallister says approval ratings are low because ‘people don’t like COVID’ – Dec 1, 2020

Roussin said the government is already working on what restrictions might continue beyond next week, but did not divulge details.

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Tuesday’s new cases bring Manitoba’s total COVID-19 cases reported since March to 17,107. The province’s death toll now sits at 328.

Manitoba’s previous deadliest day connected to COVID-19 came Nov. 14, when 15 deaths from the virus were reported.

Tuesday’s list of deaths include:

  • a man in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a woman in her 70s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a woman in her 70s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a man in his 70s from the Southern health region;
  • a man in his 70s from the Southern health region;
  • a man in his 80s from the Prairie Mountain Health region, linked to the outbreak at Fairview Home;
  • a man in his 80s from the Southern health region;
  • a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Fred Douglas Lodge;
  • a man in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Holy Family Personal Care Home;
  • a man in his 90s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Holy Family Personal Care Home;
  • a woman in her 90s from the Southern health region, linked to the outbreak at Buhler Active Living Centre in Winkler;
  • a man in his 90s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Golden Links Lodge;
  • a woman in her 100s from the Prairie Mountain Health region, linked to the outbreak at Gilbert Plains Personal Care Home; and
  • a woman in her 100s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Holy Family Personal Care Home.

The latest cases identified Tuesday include 178 cases in the Winnipeg Health region, 54 cases in the Southern Health region, 12 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 22 cases in the Northern Health region, and 17 cases in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.

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The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 13.1 per cent provincially and 13.8 per cent in Winnipeg as of Tuesday morning.

Manitoba has been reporting hundreds of new cases and multiple deaths from COVID-19 for weeks.

In the month of November 247 Manitobans with COVID-19 died, representing nearly 80 per cent of the province’s total number of deaths.

Read more: No investigation needed into coronavirus deaths at Maples LTC, Winnipeg police say

Roussin has been repeatedly calling on Mantiobans to stay at home and respect the province’s latest COVID-19 restrictions.

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He says the steady daily increases in COVID-10 cases is pushing the province’s health-care system to the limit.

As of Tuesday, there were 338 people in hospital — down from 342 Monday — with 48 people in intensive care due to COVID-19.

“Pandemics are tough and we’re asking a lot of people to avoid things that they feel are very important to them, things that are very difficult to give up, even in the short term,” Roussin said Tuesday.

“But the situation we’re in is critical — our hospitals are reaching capacity, our health-care workers are overwhelmed.”

“So we’re asking Manitobans to step up in the short term to find alternate ways to do those things that they they enjoy, those things that they love for the short term — it’s not always going to be like this.”

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Meanwhile Roussin said new COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at Grace Hospital 2 South, Seven Oaks General Hospital Family Medical unit 5U4-7 and Concordia Hospital N2 East, all in Winnipeg.

An outbreak at Carman Memorial Hospital in Carman has ended, he added.

Roussin also lifted strict lockdown measures that had been in place in Cross Lake and Peguis First nations, telling reporters transmission has stabilized in both communities.

Read more: $180,000 in COVID-19 fines issued by provincial officers this week: Manitoba Premier

Earlier in the day Tuesday the Manitoba government said provincial officers issued more than $180,000 worth of COVID-19 fines over the past week, including 22 tickets of $5,000 to various businesses for non-compliance.

From Nov. 23 through 29, the province handed out 202 warnings and 100 tickets, according to government data.

–With files from Elisha Dacey and The Canadian Press

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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.