'Definitely a positive': Manitoba reports lowest daily COVID-19 deaths since November
A glimpse into Manitoba's COVID-19 Red Zone Units at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)
WINNIPEG -- COVID-19 cases and deaths related to the virus have dropped significantly in Manitoba, as the province reports the lowest number of deaths since early November.
Provincial health officials reported four people had died related to COVID-19 as of Monday morning.
The deaths include a woman in her 60s from the Southern Health region and a woman in her 90s from Winnipeg. The deaths of two women in their 90s from Winnipeg are linked to outbreaks at the Charleswood Care Centre and the Park Manor Care Home.
This is the lowest number of deaths reported in a single day in Manitoba since November 9, when there were three deaths reported.
These most recent deaths bring Manitoba's total number of COVID-19 deaths to 572.
MANITOBA COVID-19 CASES DIP BELOW 200
The province also reported 167 cases of COVID-19, a drop from the more than 200 cases the province reported daily over the weekend.
These cases include:
- nine cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
- 25 cases in the Northern health region;
- seven cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region;
- 43 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and
- 83 cases in the Winnipeg health region
The province's five-day test positivity rate also continued to drop, reaching 11.5 per cent on Monday. The test positivity rate within Winnipeg also dropped to 10.5 per cent.
"Our case numbers are down today, which is definitely a positive. However, we must remain vigilant," said Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief provincial public health officer. "We can't let these lower numbers lull us into a false sense of security."
NEXT TWO WEEKS CRITICAL IN MANITOBA, CASES COULD SPIKE IF PEOPLE GATHER
Atwal said the next two weeks in Manitoba are critical and said cases could spike again if people gather over the holidays. He urged Manitobans to celebrate Christmas with members of their household only, and visit virtually with friends and family.
"These sacrifices this year are done to make sure that next year we're able to celebrate with all our loved ones safely gathered together."
Manitoba's Health Minister Cameron Friesen said the arrival of vaccines in the province represents a "perceptible change" in Manitoba's place in the pandemic.
"No one is suggesting that there won't be a long road ahead of us. We're not out of the woods yet," Friesen said.
"Manitobans should know that the work that is continuing to be ready for the arrival of the vaccine in Manitoba, that work is significant and I believe gives people cause for hope."
He said the drop in cases represents the connection between strict restrictions and Manitobans compliance. He said Manitoba is among the only province in Canada to see cases drop.
The province reported a total of 16,717 people have recovered from the virus, with more than 5,700 cases still reported as being active.
HOSPITALIZATIONS STABLE, BUT STILL WELL OVER CAPACITY: SIRAGUSA
The number of people in hospital saw a small jump to 310 as of Monday, with 42 of those people in intensive care due to COVID-19. An additional 72 people are in hospital due to COVID-19 but are no longer in the infectious period.
Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said the province's intensive care units were operating at 168 per cent of the normal pre-COVID capacity, with a total of 121 patients.
Siragusa said while the number of cases in hospitals is higher than the health-care system is used to, she said the cases have been stable.
"I think that is really because Manitobans have been doing what they need to do and follow those restrictions," she said. "However, there is a bit of anxiety about still what's to come and how bad could it be, so we are really hoping everyone stays vigilant."
These new cases bring the total number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba to 23,025, though one case was removed from the total due to a data correction.