Another four Manitobans with COVID-19 have died and health officials say a record-setting 80 patients are currently in ICU with the virus.
The latest health data came Wednesday afternoon after the province confirmed two critically-ill COVID-19 patients had to be moved to hospital in Thunder Bay Tuesday over concerns Manitoba’s ICUs were about to hit capacity.
The latest COVID-19 numbers were released later than usual Wednesday afternoon, due to what the province called technical issues.
That mean reporters weren’t able to ask questions of health officials about the data at a 12:30 p.m. press conference held to give an update on vaccination efforts.
In an email to Global News, a Shared Health spokesperson said Manitoba ICUs admitted 34 COVID-19 patients in a 96-hour period between May 13 and 17.
“Over the past week, Manitoba’s hospitals have been dealing with a significant increase in admissions, to both medicine units and ICUs,” the spokesperson said.
“The compounding effect of multiple days of admissions well over the norm and far beyond what we experienced during wave two has placed extreme strain on our staffing resources.”
The province said there were 70 patients in Manitoba ICUs connected to COVID-19 Tuesday.
The number of patients in hospital as a result of COVID-19 also rose Wednesday. On Tuesday health officials said 278 hospitalizations were connected to the virus.
There were 293 hospitalizations connected to COVID-19 reported Wednesday.
All four of the deaths announced Wednesday are connected to variants of concern, officials said. Since March 2020, 1,016 Manitobans with COVID-19 have died.
The latest victims include two men, one in his 40s and another in his 60s, as well as a woman in her 80s, all from from the Winnipeg area, and a woman in her 80s from the Southern Health region.
Meanwhile another 402 new infections were reported across the province as of Wednesday morning.
As has been the case for weeks, the majority of new cases — 252 — were reported in the Winnipeg Health region.
Another 50 cases were found in the Southern Health region, 42 cases were reported in the Southern Health region, 40 new infections came from the Interlake-Eastern Health region, and 18 cases were reported in the Northern Health region.
One previously announced case has been removed due to a data correction, health officials said, leaving Manitoba’s total case count at 46,314.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 13.5 per cent provincially and 15.1 per cent in Winnipeg.
There are currently 4,550 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Manitoba including 2,386 cases confirmed to be variants of concern, according to provincial data.
Strain first detected in India listed on Manitoba’s variant of concern website
Previously provincial health officials had called the strain, first detected in India, a variant of interest.
The province’s website shows the variant and two sub-lineages known as B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 have been linked to 18 cases in Manitoba.
Last week the World Health Organization said the B.1.617 strain was being classified as a variant of global concern, with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.
The B.1.617 variant is the fourth variant to be designated as being of global concern and requiring heightened tracking and analysis. The others are those first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil.
All four variants have been found in Manitoba.
Meanwhile Manitoba added 171 new confirmed variant cases Wednesday.
Since February Manitoba has recorded 7,141 variant cases, and 41 deaths have been linked to the more-contagious strains.
As well as the 18 B.1.617 cases, Manitoba has reported 3,537 cases of the B.1.1.7 strain first identified in the United Kingdom, 29 cases of the B.1.351 variant first found in South Africa, 65 cases of the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil, and 3,492 cases that are as yet unspecified.
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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