Manitoba COVID-19 death toll passes 800 on Monday
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba has passed the mark of 800 deaths as health officials announced five new deaths related to COVID-19 on Monday.
There have been 804 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Three of the new deaths are in the Prairie Mountain Health Region, including a woman in her 70s and a woman in her 80s both from the McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre outbreak. The third death was a man in his 80s from the outbreak at the medical unit in the Dauphin Regional Health Centre.
The other two deaths are from the Winnipeg area including a woman in her 50s and a woman in her 70s linked to the Concordia Place outbreak.
Officials also announced 113 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 28,810 since March 2020.
The five-day test positivity rate is 10.8 per cent in Manitoba and 6.8 per cent in Winnipeg.
The Northern Health Region has the largest number of new cases with 58, followed by Winnipeg with 33. The Interlake-Eastern Health Region had 10 new cases, while both the Prairie Mountain Health Region and Southern Health Region had six cases.
There are 3,542 active cases and 24,464 people have recovered.
There are still 145 people in hospital with COVID-19, 23 of those people are in intensive care. Hospitals also have 127 people who have recovered but still require care, including 13 people in ICU.
On Sunday, 1,595 tests were done, bringing the total to 466,635 since February 2020.
After the first weekend of seeing slightly reduced restrictions in Manitoba, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, addressed concerns on why some businesses were allowed to open and others weren't.
He said when it comes to places such as gyms or restaurants, there is a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
"It's not a reflection on the efforts of that sector, it's a reflection on the virus," said Roussin.
He wants to remind people that the situation Manitoba is in now is very similar to what the province saw in October 2020.
"We had things that were open and I think a lot of businesses were frustrated that things weren't open enough; however, we saw our numbers climb. We were in the exponential climb in November that was going to overrun our health-care system as early as the second week of December if we stayed on that trajectory and if we go back to that level of opening, we'll be right back on that trajectory. There's no reason to think things will work out differently this time."
Roussin added the health-care system is just starting to get back to the point where it can do some elective procedures, but it still isn't ready to handle the reopening of everything.
The top doctor was also asked why kids are allowed to be in school, but Manitobans can't go to businesses that are currently closed when these businesses would have reduced capacity limits in place.
Roussin said the difference between schools and general interactions throughout the community is the risk of transmission is low in school.
"We have seen transmission in the other settings," said Roussin. He once again pointed back to the late months of 2020 and what happened when many of these businesses were open.
"We kept schools open, but closed other things, and you can see what happened to our numbers."
He added that he understands the frustration among many Manitobans and business owners. But Roussin said the province needs to continue to work to lower the COVID-19 numbers, so they will be taking a very cautious approach to reopening.