WINNIPEG -- The death toll related to COVID-19 on Wednesday once again hit double digits as officials announced 14 new deaths.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, and Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, released the details.

Nine of the new deaths came from the Winnipeg area, including:

· A woman in her 40s;

· A man in his 60s;

· A man in his 70s;

· Four women in their 80s. Two deaths were linked to the St. Norbert Personal Care Home outbreak, one was connected to Golden Links Lodge, and one was not linked to an outbreak; and

· Two women in their 90s, one from the Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home and the other from the Charleswood Care Centre.

The other deaths occurred in the Southern Health Region, including a man in his 60s, a man in his 70s, two women in her 80s, and a woman in her 90s from the Rest Haven Nursing Home.

Since the start of the pandemic, 342 people have died in Manitoba.

Officials also announced 277 new cases of the disease, bringing the total to 17,384.

The five-day test positivity rate is 13.2 per cent in Manitoba and it has climbed again in Winnipeg, sitting at 14.5 per cent.

Winnipeg was once again the hardest-hit area for new cases as the region had 200.

The Northern Health Region had 28 cases, 24 cases are from the Southern Health Region, the Interlake-Eastern Health Region had 15 cases and there were 10 cases from the Prairie Mountain Health Region.

Officials said 8,970 cases are active and 8,072 have recovered.

There are currently 351 Manitobans in hospital, with 51 one of them in intensive care.

On Tuesday, 2,182 tests were performed bringing the total to 360,039 since early February.

Roussin said even though we are seeing cases slowly drop, Manitobans can't stop the work they are doing.

"We still have too much strain on our ICUs and hospitals and too much strain on our health-care professionals," said Roussin.

The top doctor was asked why Winnipeg continues to have a high test positivity rate, even though cases throughout Manitoba are falling.

Roussin said this is a number that officials want to see reduced.

"The day-to-day fluctuation of the test positivity, we have to be careful on it looking at overall test numbers and things. Nonetheless we did want to see that number lower than where it is now. Part of the reason for that is the nature of transmission right now in Winnipeg. It is widespread, it is community-based."

He added COVID-19 has also impacted several vulnerable communities in the city and because of that, it takes more time for all the restrictions to work and for the numbers to reflect them as well.