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Manitoba’s COVID-19 cases dropping, but test positivity on the rise

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic. The Canadian Press file

Manitoba’s daily COVID-19 case numbers appear to be heading in the right direction as the end of 2020 approaches, but declining case numbers come amid rising test positivity rates.

Just 107 cases were reported on Monday, but lower testing during the holidays has seen the test positivity rate shoot up to 12.6 per cent from 10 per cent.

Read more: Remembering Manitobans lost to COVID-19

With Christmas now in the rearview, epidemiologist Cynthia Carr says we just have to look back to the previous holiday — Thanksgiving — to see why limiting contacts, even during the holidays, is so important.

“You know, in the end of November, (we had) high 300s into 400 new cases a day. It’s very challenging when you think that six out of 100 end up in the hospital,” Carr told 680 CJOB.

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“We just can’t have that happening.”

Read more: Prairie premiers score low approval rating over handling of coronavirus, poll finds

Carr said while case numbers have gone down every day since Christmas Eve, with fewer than 200 cases reported daily, that might not tell the whole story, and the number of tests should be taken into account as well.

“Were there fewer test sites open? Were people less inclined to get tested?

“Maybe you had mild symptoms and you still felt fine; maybe you just decided to take a break over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and not get tested,” she said.

Nine more deaths were announced on Monday, eight of them connected to long-term care, and that saw the province’s death toll shoot up to 654.

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