For the fourth week in a row, Manitoba is reporting an increase in the number of new patients admitted to hospital as a result of COVID-19.
Health officials say 12 Manitobans with COVID-19 died during the week covered in the report, the highest death toll reported since the province moved to weekly reporting March 31.
Further details about the latest deaths like age, gender and health region are not included in the weekly updates.
While the province reported 12 deaths linked to COVID-19 in Thursday’s update, Manitoba’s total COVID-19 death toll rose to 1,774, 15 more than had been reported last week.
For the week ending April 9, health officials reported 177 new hospitalizations and five deaths. There were 141 new patients and six deaths reported the week before that, and 111 new hospitalizations and 11 deaths reported March 20-26.
The province’s weekly updates don’t give the total number of people currently in hospital and ICU as a result of COVID-19, reporting only how many new admissions occurred during the previous week.
In his last public appearance earlier this month, Manitoba’s chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said wastewater testing in Winnipeg was signaling an upward trend in transmission rates, driven largely by the Omicron BA.2 subvariant.
Thursday’s epidemiology update said wastewater surveillance data for Winnipeg by April 7 indicated ongoing activity of COVID-19, with a “generalized downward trend” in activity.
According to the update, 951 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported last week, a decrease from 1,694 reported the previous week.
The province’s weekly test positivity rate climbed slightly to 19 per cent, up from 18.6 per cent reported the week before.
But provincial case counts no longer necessarily give an accurate picture of active infection rates because they don’t include positive tests done at home and the government has significantly scaled back provincial testing.
The province lifted all COVID-19 restrictions last month, including a mask mandate and requirements to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus.
When he last spoke to reporters earlier this month, Roussin said there were no plans to bring back COVID-19 public health orders. He instead encouraged Manitobans to get fully vaccinated against the virus.
Global News was told Roussin wasn’t available to discuss efforts to encourage eligible Manitobans to get their third doses Thursday.
A spokesperson said third dose uptake is 72.1 per cent for those 50 and over, 78.8 per cent among people 60 and over, and 83.1 per cent for Manitobans over the age of 70.
“All Manitobans are encouraged to remain up to date on COVID-19 vaccination based on provincial recommendations including if they are eligible for their next recommended dose,” the spokesperson said in an email.
“Vaccination remains your best defence against severe illness from COVID-19.”
According to the latest epidemiology update, in all, 82.8 per cent of eligible Manitobans have been partially vaccinated and 79.2 per cent have been fully vaccinated.
By March 31, 42.1 per cent have received one additional dose, the report said.
— with files from Global News’ Brittany Greenslade
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 may be mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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