WINNIPEG -- Manitoba's COVID-19 cases have broken 500 – among the highest daily totals the province has seen in the pandemic.

The province said 502 cases were reported on Friday, with 389 of these cases identified in Winnipeg. The city has the highest number of active cases in the province with 1,991 active cases as of Friday, and a five-day test positivity rate of 11.3 per cent.

The last time more than 500 cases were reported in Manitoba on a single day was November 23, 2020, when 546 cases were announced.

"These numbers are alarming," said Dr. Jazz Atwal, the deputy chief provincial public health officer.

He said Manitoba's COVID-19 cases this week have jumped by 25 per cent compared to last week, and with it, the ICU has seen an increase in demand.

The province said there were 118 patients in intensive care as of Friday morning, including 56 people who have or are recovering from COVID-19. Six of these COVID-19 patients are under the age of 40.

Health officials said there are 40 COVID-19 patients in hospital under the age of 40 – a week ago, there was 18.

More than half of Manitoba's total 201 COVID-19 patients in hospital are under the age of 70.

"As the number of cases rise, we will see more hospitalizations and more severe outcomes in Manitoba," Atwal said.

"We continue to see that people with an underlying health condition have more severe health outcomes compared to those with no underlying health conditions."

He said cases of severe outcomes are lower among those who have been vaccinated.

"In contrast, severe outcomes are increasing in unvaccinated individuals across all age groups, but especially those in the ages of 50 to 69 and 70 to 79."

Manitoba dropped the age eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines on Friday.

READ MORE: COVID-19 vaccine age eligibility drops again in Manitoba

The other cases reported on Friday include:

  • 34 cases in the Southern Health region, which has 167 total active cases;
  • 32 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, which has 398 total active cases;
  • 30 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region, which has 151 total active cases; and
  • 17 cases in the Northern health region, which has 292 total active cases.

The provincial five-day test positivity rate is now 9.6 per cent, with Friday's cases bringing Manitoba's total to 40,940. This includes 2,989 active cases and 36,964 recoveries. Four cases were removed from the total due to a data correction.

The province also reported another death linked to COVID-19. This was a man in his 50s from the Southern Health region.

The province said this brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba to 987.