Manitoba reported less than 200 new COVID-19 infections for the second straight day Monday.
But as the province announced 124 new cases — its lowest daily case count since mid April — health officials said two more Manitobans with the virus have died.
The latest victims include a woman in her 50s from the Winnipeg Health region linked to the Alpha variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, and a man in his 80s from the Southern Health region.
Manitoba reported seven new deaths of people with COVID-19 and 194 new cases of the virus Sunday.
Daily case counts hit a peak of 603 infections last month.
Since then health officials have enacted tight restrictions, including a ban on most social gatherings and schools have been closed in Winnipeg, Brandon and some rural communities. Cinemas, gyms and museums have also been closed, and restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery services.
Over the weekend the rules were relaxed slightly to allow people to gather — outdoors only — in groups of up to five people.
Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said while the restrictions appear to be working, hospitals and ICUs remain stretched.
“We continue to see deaths related to this virus, we continue to see that strain on our health care system, hospital admissions — especially ICU,” he said Monday.
As of Monday morning, Roussin said 297 Manitobans remain hospitalized as a result of COVID-19, including 26 critically ill patients who are receiving care outside of the province due to to a shortage of ICU space here.
There are also 60 patients in ICU here in Manitoba as a result of the virus, he said.
Roussin said it could be another two weeks before hospital numbers get closer to normal. He renewed his call for Manitobans to get vaccinated.
“Our data is showing that the vast majority of people being admitted to (intensive care units) are unvaccinated,” Roussin said.
“That’s why we want to continue increasing those first and second doses.”
According to provincial health data, as of Monday there are 3,111 active cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba.
The latest new infections come from all corners of the province. Eighty new cases were reported in Winnipeg, 19 new cases were found in the Southern Health region, 14 infections were reported in the Northern Health region, seven came from the Prairie Mountain Health region, and four were reported in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.
The rolling five-day test positivity rate was 10.2 per cent in Winnipeg and 10.7 per cent provincially as of Monday.
Since March 2020, 1,102 Manitobans with COVID-19 have died and the province has reported 54,481 lab-confirmed cases of the virus.
–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.
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