Health officials in Manitoba reported 497 new COVID-19 infections and no new deaths connected to the virus Friday.
The latest cases announced on the province’s online COVID-19 portal bring the province’s total number of cases reported since March 2020 to 50,144.
Of the new cases, the largest number — 324 — are in the Winnipeg health region, with 25 in the Northern health region, 36 in Southern Health region, 80 in the Prairie Mountain region, and 32 in the Interlake-Eastern region.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 12.5 per cent provincially and 14 per cent in Winnipeg.
Slightly tightened public health orders that encourage employers to have people work from home and require malls to enforce capacity come into effect at midnight.
Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, said the health system is facing critical pressures that are not sustainable.
“There are too many people in hospital today, struggling for their lives,” he said at a Friday press conference.
Manitoba has seen the highest per-capita rate of new infections in Canada in recent weeks, and has started shipping some intensive care patients to other provinces to free up beds. At least 26 critically ill COVID-19 patients have been transferred out of province since May 18.
As of Friday morning health officials said there are 312 people in hospital as a result of novel coronavirus, down 12 from the day before, and 69 patients in ICU connected to the virus, down four from Thursday.
The province’s ICU numbers don’t include patients who have been transferred out of Manitoba for care.
The extended COVID-19 restrictions include a ban on social gatherings, both indoors and out, that was due to expire Saturday will now run until June 12. There remains a small exemption for people who live alone, who are permitted to meet with one other person.
A rule that requires only one person per household to enter a store or other public-facing business is also being extended to June 12.
Public schools in Winnipeg, Brandon and some other areas that were switched to remote learning earlier this month will have to continue until the week of June 7.
Stores and shopping centres can remain open at 10 per cent capacity under the rules. But after hearing reports of people meeting up at malls for social purposes, the province is giving marching orders to security staff to kick out anyone loitering.
On Friday the province also said it would be extending a suspension of Community Living disABILITY Services-funded day services for adults with intellectual disabilities until June 11.
Meanwhile the province said Friday new outbreaks has been declared at the Carmen Memorial Hospital in Carman and Eastview Place Personal Care Home in Altona. An outbreak at Russell Health Centre in Russell has ended, health officials said.
Manitoba reported eight deaths — the highest one-day fatalities total in the third wave of the pandemic — and 297 new cases Thursday.
Since March 2020, 1,042 Manitobans with COVID-19 have died and 4,676 cases remained active as of Friday.
Earlier in the day Friday health officials said a disruption in supply of the Moderna vaccine means the province now expects 70 per cent of Manitobans aged 12 and up to get a dose by the end of June, not June 9 as they previously hoped.
All Manitobans aged 12 and up are eligible to book their first-dose appointments.
As of Friday health officials say 816,984 vaccinations have been administered in Manitoba.
The province said Winnipeg’s Leila super site is accepting walk-in appointments Friday for those individuals wishing to get their first or second dose of Moderna.
Anyone who got their first shot on or before April 3 is now eligible for their second shot, as are all Indigenous people and Manitobans with certain health conditions.
–With files from the Canadian Press
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.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.