Manitoba health officials reported more than 500 new COVID-19 infections for the second-straight day Monday, and say four more Manitobans with the virus have died.
The latest victims of the virus include two men from the Southern Health region, one in his 40s and another in his 80s, as well as a man in his 50s from the Northern Health region, and a man in his 60s from the Winnipeg Health region.
Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin said the deaths of both men from the Southern Health region and the man from Winnipeg are linked to the B.1.1.7 strain first identified in the United Kingdom.
Manitoba’s COVID-19 death toll now sits at 997.
Roussin said 502 new infections have been identified as of Monday morning, bringing Manitoba’s total number of cases reported since March 2020 to 42,453 after four previously announced cases were removed due to data corrections.
They come after the province reported its second-highest ever daily case load since the pandemic began — 532 cases — and three deaths Sunday.
Roussin said risky behaviour is behind some of the growing infections.
Not all households in which a member was waiting for a test result have isolated, people have gone out because their symptoms were mild and there have been large gatherings.
“We’ve seen a lot of transmission chains that could have been avoided,” Roussin said.
The latest cases include 399 from the Winnipeg Health region, 48 cases in the Southern Health region, 20 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 10 cases in the Northern Health region, and 25 cases in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 11.6 per cent provincially and 13.8 per cent in Winnipeg.
Hospitalization rates also rose Monday.
There are now 215 people in hospital as a result of novel coronavirus and 60 patients in ICU connected to the virus, according to provincial data.
On Sunday health officials reported 210 people in hospital and 52 in ICU.
Roussin said there are currently 3,771 active cases of COVID-19 across the province.
Laboratory testing numbers show 3,787 tests were completed Sunday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 698,667.
Roussin’s media availability Monday comes as the province continues to see rising case counts and as new, tighter public health orders went into effect Sunday.
Under the latest health orders, Manitoba has capped outdoor gatherings to five people, limiting restaurants, bars and patios to take-out and delivery and closing some businesses.
The new restrictions, which also include the closure of gyms, museums, art galleries and libraries, were announced Friday and will last until May 30.
The province is also moving all kindergarten to Grade 12 schools in Winnipeg and Brandon to remote learning as of Wednesday. The schools are to remain closed until at least May 30.
Manitoba reported 1,020 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and Sunday, and six additional deaths over the two days.
One of the new deaths was a woman in her 20s, and five of the six victims were linked to the B.1.1.7 variant, the one that was first identified in the United Kingdom.
— with files from The Canadian Press