WINNIPEG -- As Manitoba loosens some COVID-19 restrictions, health officials are reporting one new death from the virus and a new case of a variant of concern identified in the province.

Announced in the provincial COVID-19 news conference on Friday, the death is a woman in her 90s from the Winnipeg region linked to the outbreak at Golden Links Lodge.

The COVID-19 death toll in Manitoba now sits at 904.

Along with the death, Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, announced 54 COVID-19 cases, including a case of the B. variant, which was first identified in South Africa. The case was identified in Winnipeg.

There have been three total cases of the B. variant identified in Manitoba, along with six cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom.

"These variants can spread more easily. You could see increasing numbers rather quickly, which would impact our case counts and hospitalizations," Atwal said.

Atwal noted that the case is being investigated and that there is no major risk to the public at this time.

Of the new cases, 14 are in Winnipeg, which has a five-day test positivity rate of 2.4 per cent.

Out of the remaining cases, two are in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 33 are in the Northern health region, one is in the Prairie Mountain health region and four are in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region.

The total number of cases in Manitoba since early March is 32,104. 


Dr. Atwal said despite the low case numbers, Manitobans still need to continue to be careful during spring break, Easter and Passover.

"With improved case numbers and increased vaccination among Manitobans, we need to remain vigilant," he said. "There continues to be risk, but we need to learn to live with the virus."

The province currently has 1,133 active cases, and 30,067 people have recovered from the virus.


The current provincial five-day test positivity rate dropped slightly and now sits at 3 per cent.

There are 55 people in hospital with active cases of COVID-19, including nine in intensive care.

There are an additional 116 people who have recovered from COVID-19 but still require care; 15 of those people are in ICU.

"Our hospitalization numbers due to COVID-19 remain elevated and this affects how we are able to deliver health services," said Atwal. "There continues to be a number of people in intensive care units and these resources are still stretched."

On Friday, 2,069 tests were performed, bringing the total to 534,021 since early February.

To date, 84,937 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 55,090 first doses and 29,847 second doses.