Health officials say another 12 Manitobans have died from COVID-19 and 368 have been infected with the virus.
The latest cases announced on the province’s online COVID-19 portal Thursday bring the province’s total number of cases reported since March to 17,751.
Since March 353 Manitobans have died from COVID-19.
Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said a previously reported COVID-19 death has been removed from the province’s list of deaths due to a data entry error. It’s the second time the province has removed a death from the list due to a data entry error.
The latest deaths include:
- a male in his 30s from the Interlake–Eastern health region;
- a male in his 50s from the Northern health region;
- a male in his 50s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region, linked to the outbreak at the Menno Home;
- a male in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Golden Links Lodge;
- a female in her 70s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region;
- a female in her 70s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region, linked to the outbreak at Fernwood Place;
- a female in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region;
- a female in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region;
- a female in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home;
- a male in his 90s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Golden Links Lodge;
- a male in his 90s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and
- a female in her 90s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region, linked to the outbreak at the Menno Home.
Thursday’s new cases include 211 in the Winnipeg Health region, 57 cases in the Southern Health region, 31 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 48 cases in the Northern Health region, and 21 cases in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.
According to the province there are 357 people in hospital — up from 351 Wednesday — with 52 people in intensive care due to COVID-19, up one from the day before.
The province says a new outbreak has been declared at the River Park Gardens Personal Care Home in Winnipeg, but outbreaks at The Pas Homeless Shelter – Oscar’s Place in The Pas, and Victoria General Hospital unit 5 North and 5 South in Winnipeg, have ended.
The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 13.1 per cent provincially and 14.9 per cent as of Thursday morning.
Health officials say 2,913 tests for novel coronavirus were done Wednesday, bringing the total number of tests done across the province since February to 362,973.
There were 9,130 active cases of COVID-19 across Manitoba Thursday, according to provincial data, but Roussin has said the number is likely inflated due to a backlog in case monitoring.
Manitoba announced 277 new cases and 14 additional deaths from the virus on Wednesday.
Manitoba was facing the highest rate of new coronavirus infections among the provinces until it was surpassed by Alberta last week.
The Manitoba government imposed restrictions on public gatherings and business openings three weeks ago, and the daily number of new cases has started to drop in recent days.
Roussin said this week the daily cases and hospitalization rates are still too high and some restrictions will remain in place beyond when they are set to expire Dec. 11. He said Thursday health officials are still working on exactly what the next round of restrictions will look like.
The province announced plans Wednesday to require many students to stay home from school and learn remotely for two weeks after the holiday break in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus.
From Jan. 4 to Jan. 15, students in grades 7 to 12 will have to learn remotely, except those with special needs. Students in kindergarten to Grade 6 will have the option of learning remotely or going to school.
Rapid testing for teachers, vaccine plans
Earlier in the day Thursday the province said it will be prioritising rapid COVID-19 testing for teachers.
The full details of the program will come in January, said Premier Brian Pallister.
In the meantime, the province is sending another 20 rapid testing systems to communities in Manitoba, including two in Steinbach, Boundary Trails, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk and Dauphin, and one in Notre-Dame-de-Lordes, Stonewall, Pine Falls, Gimli, Ashern, Neepawa, Virden, Killarney, Russell and Thompson/The Pas.
Pallister also revealed more details about the province’s plans for vaccination Thursday.
He said the province has enough supplies to deliver two doses of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine to every Manitoban.
“We want to get as many vaccinated as quickly as we can,” said Pallister, adding they’re building the workforce to deal with the surge when the vaccine is widely available.
“We are assembling the necessary people, equipment and other resources to we can rapidly stand up a large-scale, ‘super site’ vaccine campaign, as soon as the vaccine is delivered.”
The vaccines have storage needs that are specialized, including the need to keep them at a very low temperature. Pallister said the first freezer able to safely store the vaccine has been delivered, and another four are on the way.
Together, the freezers can hold about one million doses of vaccine, and the province has also purchased 20 ultra-cold portable freezers.
The vaccines will not be mandatory, said Pallister, saying the province will launch an education campaign on the benefits of being vaccinated.
“Over time, the vaccine will be available to every Manitobans who wants it and this will help to protect all of us against COVID-19,” said Pallister.
–With files from Will Reimer, Matt Cardy, Elisha Dacey, 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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