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Manitoba reports 4 additional coronavirus deaths, 167 new cases after long weekend break

Click to play video: 'Variants of concern still a threat despite Pauingassi false alarm' Variants of concern still a threat despite Pauingassi false alarm
– Feb 16, 2021

Health officials say another four Manitobans have died from COVID-19 and 167 more have been infected with the virus.

The latest cases announced on the province’s online COVID-19 portal Tuesday bring the province’s total number of cases reported since March to 30,932 after one previously announced case was removed due to a data correction.

Read more: 5 more COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba on Valentine’s Day

Since March of last year, 875 Manitobans have now died from COVID-19.

No updated COVID-19 numbers were released in Manitoba on Monday as health officials took a day off for Louis Riel Day.

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Manitoba’s chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said 71 of the new cases were identified Monday and 96 were reported as of Tuesday morning.

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Of the latest cases 51 were reported in the Winnipeg Health region, eight cases were from the Southern Health region, two were found in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 93 were reported in the Northern Health region, and 13 cases came from in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.

The latest deaths all come from the Winnipeg area and include a man in his 60s, a man in his 70s connected to an outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital unit B5, a man in his 90s, and a woman in her 90s.

There are now 230 people in hospital as a result of novel coronavirus and 26 patients in ICU connected to the virus, according to provincial data.

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The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 5.9 per cent provincially and 4.5 per cent in Winnipeg.

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Health officials say 1,390 tests for novel coronavirus were done Monday, bringing the total number of tests done across the province since February to 503,523.

There were 1,625 active cases of COVID-19 across Manitoba on Tuesday, according to provincial data.

Health officials advised five additional deaths in people with COVID-19 Sunday, and 80 new infections were reported.

 Pauingassi First Nation cases not UK variant: AMC

Earlier in the day Tuesday the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs announced seven positive COVID-19 tests from Pauingassi First Nation that were initially suspected to be the B.1.1.7. coronavirus variant, are in fact not cases of the variant, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom.

The samples were first screened at Manitoba’s Cadham provincial laboratory and had been sent to the National Microbiology Lab for confirmation.

Read more: Testing shows UK COVID-19 variant not in Pauingassi First Nation, says chief

In a release the AMC said those tests have since shown the samples are not the variant.

“The initial screening looks for a genetic marker, a key mutation, that indicates a sample might be a variant of concern,” the release from the AMC reads.

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“While the variant found in Northern Manitoba shares that genetic marker with the B.1.1.7 variant, the full sequencing has shown that the samples are in fact not the B.1.1.7 variant.”

Roussin said the province is now awaiting further sequencing results from other samples taken on the First Nation over the weekend.

The remote community, roughly 282 km northeast of Winnipeg, has been under a strict lockdown since Feb. 2, with residents required to stay at home except for essential purposes.

Manitoba’s first confirmed case of the U.K. variant was found in Winnipeg. The case was related to international travel, officials said earlier this month.

The COVID-19 variant is believed to be more contagious and has made its way to all 10 provinces in Canada, officials announced Saturday.

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–With files from Joe Scarpelli 

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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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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