Health officials announced the deaths of six more Manitobans with COVID-19 and say two more critically ill patients have been sent out of province for care as the province’s premier and top doctor laid out reopening plans Thursday.
Four of the deaths are linked to more-contagious variants of concern and they bring Manitoba’s COVID-19 death toll to 1,087.
Read more: Manitoba launches COVID-19 reopening plan
The latest victims include:
- a man in his 60s from Southern Health–Santé Sud health region, linked to an unspecified variant of concern;
- a man in his 70s from Interlake–Eastern health region, linked to the Alpha variant of concern, first identified in the United Kingdom;
- a woman in her 70s from the Winnipeg health region;
- a man in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the Alpha variant of concern;
- a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the Alpha variant of concern and the outbreak at Beacon Hill Lodge Personal Care Home; and
- a woman in her 90s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region, linked to the outbreak at Carman Memorial Hospital.
Another 251 new infections were also reported across the province Thursday. Since March 2020, Manitoba has reported 53,650 cases of COVID-19.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 11.1 per cent provincially and 11.6 per cent in Winnipeg. Provincial health data shows there are currently 3,600 active COVID-19 cases throughout Manitoba.
Meanwhile, health officials say 30 COVID-19 patients remain in critical care beds outside of the province due to capacity issues in Manitoba ICUs, including two who were transferred to hospitals in Thunder Bay and London, Ont., Wednesday.
In all health officials say 316 Manitobans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 64 who are in ICU in Manitoba.
Since Manitoba started transporting patients out of province for care May 18, 23 patients have been returned to Manitoba hospitals.
Meanwhile, health officials say a previously declared outbreak at St. Norbert Personal Care Home in Winnipeg has ended.
The province also announced it is extending a suspension of services for adults with intellectual disabilities through Community Living disABILITY Services-funded day services for adults with intellectual disabilities until at least June 25.
The number of confirmed variants of concern concern continued to rise Thursday.
A provincial website tracking the more-contagious strains shows the province has now confirmed 13,255 VOC cases, 348 more than had been reported when the site was last updated Tuesday.
The most dominant VOC in Manitoba continues to be the Alpha variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, with 5,678 cases.
The province has also recorded 41 cases of the Beta variant, which first emerged in South Africa, 145 cases of the Gamma variant, first detected in Brazil, and 84 cases of the Delta strain, first identified in India.
Another 7,307 variant cases are listed as unspecified on the province’s website.
Earlier in the day Thursday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, unveiled the province’s reopening plan.
The government’s plan focuses on gatherings, travel, shopping and dining. Restrictions in those areas will be loosened if vaccination goals are met by certain dates.
The first immunization target is to have more than 70 per cent of Manitobans aged 12 and older inoculated with a first dose and more than 25 per cent with a second dose by Canada Day.
If that happens, the province says, businesses and other facilities will be able to open at 25 per cent capacity.
Businesses will be allowed to increase to 50 per cent capacity if 75 per cent of people have had one dose and 50 per cent have had a second shot by the August long weekend.
The final target calls for 80 per cent of the population to have had one shot and 75 per cent with two shots by Labour Day in September. In that case, most businesses, services and facilities would be able to open with few restrictions.
Manitoba has been under tight public health orders since a delayed third wave caused a significant surge in COVID-19 infections last month.
–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.View link »