Health officials say COVID-19 ICU admissions continue to push Manitoba’s health-care system to the limit as 232 new cases and three deaths were reported Tuesday.
The province’s latest COVID-19 victims are all from the Winnipeg area and include a woman in her 80s and a man in his 60s, both linked to the B.1.1.7 strain, first identified in the United Kingdom, as well as a woman in her 50s.
Their deaths bring Manitoba’s COVID-19 death toll to 1,056.
Health officials say the the majority of Tuesday’s new cases — 168 — come from the Winnipeg Health region.
The remaining new cases include 36 in the Southern Health region, 13 found in the Northern Health region, 10 reported in the Interlake-Eastern Health region, and five identified in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
Since March 2020, Manitoba has now recorded 51,316 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 4.333 remain active, according to provincial health data.
More than half of Manitoba’s active cases, 2,594 infections, are variants of concern, according to a provincial website tracking the more contagious strains.
According to the site Manitoba has recorded 11,204 variant cases since February, including 4,889 B.1.1.7 cases, 35 of the B.1.351 variant first found in South Africa, 18 cases of the B.1.617 variant first detected in India and its sub-lineages, 110 cases of the P.1 variant first identified in Brazil, and 6,152 listed as unspecified.
Meanwhile, Shared Health said another three COVID-19 patients were moved from ICUs in Manitoba for care in Ontario Monday.
That brings the total number of critically ill COVID-19 patients transported out of province for care since May 18 to 43, although six patients have been since been returned for hospital care in Manitoba.
A provincial website tracking out of province ICU numbers shows 36 Manitoba patients are currently in Ontario and one is in Saskatchewan.
Officials said in all there were 126 patients in Manitoba ICUs as of Tuesday morning, including 72 as a result of COVID-19. Manitoba’s pre-COVID-19 ICU capacity was 72 beds, officials have said. Manitoba’s ICU numbers don’t include those transferred out of province for care.
A Shared Health spokesperson said seven COVID-19 patients were admitted to Manitoba’s ICUs in a 24-hour period ending midday Monday.
The agency said in total, 253 COVID-19 patients were admitted to ICU in May — a 406 per cent increase over the number admitted in April.
Meanwhile, new outbreaks have also been declared at several Manitoba health facilities.
Officials said Tuesday outbreaks have been declared at Health Sciences Centre, GD4; Grace Hospital, 3 South; and Beacon Hill Lodge Personal Care Home in Winnipeg, as well as at the Surgery Unit of the Dauphin Regional Health Centre in Dauphin.
Earlier in the day Tuesday the province said public health enforcement agents had their busiest week on record May 24-30, handing out 161 tickets.
The majority of the tickets went to those caught at gatherings held both outdoor and in private residences, the province said.
The five-day test-positivity rate stands at 12 per cent provincially and 13.5 per cent in Winnipeg.
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.