Manitoba reports 400 new COVID-19 infections, highest one-day jump since May

Click to play video: 'Could Omicron spread in Manitoba bring a silver lining?'
Could Omicron spread in Manitoba bring a silver lining?
Could Omicron spread in Manitoba bring a silver lining? – Dec 22, 2021

Manitoba is reporting its biggest one-day jump in COVID-19 cases since late May, as infection rates continue to swell across the province.

Health officials reported 400 new infections and two additional deaths Wednesday.

The province last saw more than 400 cases reported in one day May 28, when 497 infections were announced, according to records kept by Global News.

Manitoba reported 302 new cases Tuesday, which marked the second time in three days the province’s daily case count has surpassed 300 infections.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, said Manitoba has seen a 60 per cent increase in cases over the last week and he expects case numbers to continue to climb.

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Click to play video: 'Manitoba’s COVID-19 numbers: December 22'
Manitoba’s COVID-19 numbers: December 22

“We know that over time Omicron will become the dominant strain,” he said.

“On a day-to-day basis, we’re seeing increased number of Omicron positives in our samples as well.”

One new case of the highly contagious Omicron variant was also reported for a total of 18.

Atwal said he expects case counts exceed Wednesday’s number, as some are unreported.

He said previous waves of the pandemic have shown for every one case identified, three or four are likely being missed.

Despite the rising case count, Atwal would not commit to tightening restrictions, instead saying officials will monitor risk factors as the holidays approach.

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New outbreaks, deaths

The two deaths reported Wednesday include a man in his 70s from the Southern Health region and a man in his 50s from the Winnipeg health region.

The province’s COVID-19 death toll now sits at 1,368.

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate rose to 9.9 per cent Wednesday, up from 8.6 per cent Tuesday, and 3.5 points higher than just a week ago.

In Winnipeg, the five-day test positivity rate is 10.6 per cent, officials said.

The majority of Wednesday’s new cases — 256 infections — were found in the Winnipeg Health region.

Another 51 cases were reported in the Southern Health region, 54 were found in the Prairie Mountain Health region, eight were reported in the Northern Health region and 31 were found in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.

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Officials said there are 137 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning, 24 of whom are in intensive-care units.

They said a new outbreak has been declared at Beacon Hill Lodge long term care home in Winnipeg, while a previously declared outbreak at Fernwood Place has ended.

New outbreaks have also been declared at the following schools:

  • Westview School, Grade 1/2 cohort, in Winnipeg;
  • École Margaret Underhill, Grade 1, in Winnipeg;
  • Faith Academy Middle School, in Winnipeg; and
  • École Regent Park, class 4B, in Winnipeg.

Meanwhile, health data shows the number of breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated Manitobans has been on the rise in recent days.

Health data shows 309 of Wednesday’s infections are among people who were fully vaccinated, 72 had yet to be vaccinated and 19 were partially vaccinated.

Of the 902 cases announced since Monday, 664 have been reported in people who were fully vaccinated.

There are now 2,622 active COVID-19 cases across the province, 61 per cent of which are among fully vaccinated people, according to provincial data.

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Click to play video: 'Manitoba stops identifying most close contacts as COVID-19 infections surge'
Manitoba stops identifying most close contacts as COVID-19 infections surge

Health officials have previously warned that the vaccine may not provide full protection against the more contagious Omicron variant and have encouraged those who are eligible for a third dose to get the booster shot as soon as possible.

Health officials have also said Manitoba is likely to see a sharp rise in new cases — as many as 1,000 a day by early January — as Omicron spreads across the province.

According to a provincial site tracking vaccinations, 84.6 per cent of eligible Manitobans aged five and up have received one dose of vaccine and 78.2 per cent have received two shots. Of those eligible for a third dose, 16.8 per cent have gotten the booster.

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Officials said 3,524 tests for the virus were completed Tuesday.

Since March 2020, Manitoba has now reported 72,283 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those, 68,293 have since recovered, according to health data.

–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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