Health officials in Manitoba say two of three new COVID-19 deaths announced Wednesday are connected to variants of concern, and the province’s latest victims include two people in their 20s.
The deceased individuals include a woman in her 20s from the Northern Health region, a man in his 20s from the Winnipeg Health region, and a woman in her 100s from the Southern Health region.
The death of the woman in her 100s has been linked to the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, and the man from Winnipeg who died had been infected with a variant that has not yet been identified, health officials said in a provincial release.
Since the pandemic first began, 971 Manitobans with COVID-19 have died, and six of those deaths have now been linked to a variant strain of the virus.
According to a provincial online database keeping track of variants of concern, 47 new variant cases were confirmed across the province Wednesday.
Since February Manitoba has now recorded 1,688 cases of variants of concern, and 656 of those cases remain active, according to provincial data.
The vast majority of Manitoba’s confirmed variant cases — 1,171 — have been the B.1.1.7 strain, but the province has also recorded 20 cases linked to the B.1.351 variant first found in South Africa, and nine cases of the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil.
The remaining 488 variant cases found in Manitoba are as of yet unspecified, officials say.
Health officials also announced 189 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing Manitoba’s total case count to 38,211 after three previously announced cases were removed due to data corrections.
The majority of Wednesday’s new cases — 124 — were identified in Winnipeg, while 27 were found in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 17 came from the Interlake-Eastern Health region, 16 were reported in the Southern Health region, and five were found in the Northern Health region.
There are currently 2,206 active COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, according to provincial health data.
As of Wednesday morning, there were 134 people in hospital as a result of novel coronavirus and 30 patients in ICU connected to the virus, but health officials noted the numbers don’t include stats from the Prairie Mountain Health region due to issues with provincial data systems.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 7.5 per cent provincially and 8.4 per cent in Winnipeg.
Laboratory testing numbers show 3,239 tests were completed Tuesday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 653,076.
Manitoba announced 218 new cases and no additional deaths from the virus on Tuesday.
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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