WINNIPEG -- COVID-19 variants of concern are on the rise in Manitoba as health officials announced 136 new cases on Monday.

These cases are new and sequenced cases. Five of the cases are in the Interlake-Eastern Health Region, 14 are in the Southern Health Region and 117 are in the Winnipeg area.

There have been 259 variant cases found in Manitoba – 116 of the B.1.1.7 variant which was first found in the United Kingdom, 14 of the B.1.351 variant first found in South Africa, and 129 cases have not been categorized.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said the province has recently been screening for variants and so far, its accuracy is 100 per cent.

"To date, we have only been reporting sequence positive VOCs, but because our manner of screening has become so precise, Manitoba will now start to report on all samples that screen positive as a variant of concern," said Roussin.

He said sequencing is very time-consuming and because of the new screening process, not all screened positive cases require sequencing.

"That's why today we are going to see a jump in the variant of concern cases because now we have included ones that have just screened positive that would have been pending sequencing in the past."

Roussin also noted that the B.1.1.7 variant is the most prominent in the province, adding on one day last week, one-third of cases were that variant.

The province also added 53 new cases, pushing the total to 33,975 since March 2020.

The five-day test positivity rate is 4.2 per cent in Manitoba and 3.3 per cent in Winnipeg.

Of the new cases, the Northern Health Region had the largest jump with 27 cases, 21 cases are from Winnipeg, both the Prairie Mountain Health Region and the Interlake-Eastern Health Region had two cases each and one case is from the Southern Health Region.

Manitoba has 1,177 active cases and 31,864 people have recovered.

There are currently 66 people in hospital with active COVID-19, including 11 in ICU. Another 83 people are no longer infectious but still require care, including 16 in intensive care.

No new deaths were reported on Monday, meaning the death toll stays at 934.

On Sunday, 1,685 tests were completed, bringing the total to 579,262 since February 2020.


On Friday, the lines were long at the RBC Convention Centre as Manitobans waited to receive their vaccine. Some people previously told CTV News that they waited up to two hours to get a shot.

"This is not the experience we wanted people to have. So for everyone who waited on Friday, we are sorry," said Dr. Joss Reimer, who is the medical lead for the Vaccination Task Force.

Reimer said everyone who stayed in line was vaccinated, adding the problem was smoothed out by the time the weekend rolled around.

She noted, as of Monday, wait times are between 10 and 20 minutes.

"We're still making adjustments to make the entire process smoother for people coming in to be immunized."