The number of COVID-19 patients in Manitoba hospitals and intensive care units continued to rise Monday, as health officials announced 430 new infections and the death of another person connected to the virus.
The virus’s latest victim is a man in his 60s from the Southern Health region, and he is the 1,011th Manitoban with COVID-19 to die since March 2020.
Manitoba continues to see high daily case counts and rising hospitalization rates. As of Sunday, Manitoba also has the highest per capita infection rate in Canada.
Numbers reported on Health Canada’s website show Manitoba is Canada’s COVID-19 hot spot with a seven-day average rate of 33.1 cases per 100,000.
“Manitobans are all tired of the public health orders and restrictions, tired of hearing of the fundamentals, but we need to ensure we’re all still familiar with how severe COVID-19 is,” Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin said Monday.
“We could see in January and February of this year, our collective actions make a big difference — we saw our case counts coming down, we were able to get back to some of the health-care services that had to be delayed in the second wave.
“We’re in that scenario again, we need to bring down these numbers, there’s far too much strain on our health-care system.”
Manitoba health officials reported last week that the province is already outpacing their worst-case scenario projections.
There were 265 people are in hospital and 73 people in intensive care units linked to COVID-19 as of Monday morning. A day earlier, health officials said 258 people were in hospital and 71 people in ICUs connected to the virus.
Monday’s new infections come from across the province, but the majority — 313 — were reported in Winnipeg.
Another 44 cases were found in the Southern Health region, 37 were reported in the Northern Health region, and 18 were found in both the Interlake-Eastern and Prairie Mountain Health regions.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 12.7 per cent provincially and 14.3 per cent in Winnipeg.
Health data shows 4,568 COVID-19 cases remain active, including 2,407 confirmed to be variants of concern.
Manitoba updates an online list of variant of concern cases Tuesday through Saturday, and at last count the province has recorded 6,137 variant cases.
According to the data, the vast majority of Manitoba’s variants — 3,058 — are the B.1.1.7 strain first identified in the United Kingdom, 28 have been the B.1.351 variant first found in South Africa, 57 are the P.1 variant first identified in Brazil, and 2,994 are as yet unspecified.
All of the B.1.351 cases have since recovered, but provincial data shows 932 B.1.1.7 cases remain active, as do 11 cases of the P.1 strain. Another 1,464 variant cases listed as unspecified are also listed as active.
Meanwhile health officials say a new outbreak has been declared at Bethesda Regional Health Centre on the Medical Unit in Steinbach.
Laboratory testing numbers show 3,190 tests were completed Sunday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 725,195.
Over the weekend Manitoba reported 964 new cases of COVID-19, again, with the majority of them in Winnipeg.
The province continues to be under strict COVID-19 health orders for at least another two weeks. That includes the closure of gyms and indoor and patio dining at restaurants, and having schools in Brandon and Winnipeg move to remote learning.
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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