WINNIPEG -- Provincial health officials announced 40 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer, made the announcement on Friday. Manitoba has had 643 cases since early March.

According to provincial data, this is the largest single-day spike in Manitoba since the pandemic began.

daily case numbers

(Source: Government of Manitoba)

Of the new cases, 25 are in the Prairie Mountain Health Region, five in the Southern Health Region, and 10 in the Winnipeg Health Region.

Prairie mountain Health

(Prairie Mountain Health active cases - Source: Government of Manitoba)

Roussin said the majority of the cases in the Prairie Mountain Health Region are linked to previous cases in Brandon, and that there is early indication of community transmission. Of the 110 active cases in the Prairie Mountain Health Region, 90 are in Brandon. There are 44 active cases in Winnipeg and the Southern Health region has 47 active cases as of Friday.

"We know what we need to do. We have done it before, we've been doing it all along, but we need to be reminded about the fundamentals," said Roussin.

southern health graph data

(Southern Health COVID-19 district breakdown, August 14, 2020 Source: Manitoba government)

He said those who have tested positive recently have been in contact with more people.

"We've seen over the last month or so that the average number of contacts per case has increased. We have seen cases earlier in this month that have had 25 plus contacts. So these are indications that we are starting to lose track of our fundamentals."

The current five-day test positivity rate is 1.25 per cent.

There are nine people in hospital, with three people in intensive care.

There are 246 active cases and 389 people have recovered from the virus.

The death toll remains at eight.

On Thursday, 2,288 tests were done bringing the total to 110,492 since early February.

Health officials are reminding people, that only those with symptoms should go for testing and they should get tested as soon as possible.

Roussin also warned of two more cases of potential exposure to COVID-19.

The first happened on Aug. 7 at a Sobey's, located at 1570 18th St. in Brandon, and then on Aug. 10 at the Minnedosa Hospital at 334 First St.

The second possible exposure happened on Aug. 9 at the Cartwright Town and Country Golf Club, along PTH 3, just west of Cartwright.

"These potential exposures are another reminder that we should self-isolate as soon as symptoms develop. To stay home even with mild symptoms," said Roussin.

Roussin said the risk of transmission is low, but if people were at those locations on those days, they are told to self-monitor and if symptoms develop they should get tested and then self-isolate.

Speaking in Brandon on Friday, NDP Opposition Leader Wab Kinew said the recent increase in cases is a sign the province needs to revisit its current reopening plan, and to start considering a “more regional approach” to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.

“I do think this province should be much stronger when it comes to masks,” he said. “Being in Brandon today, I was at a few events where people were wearing masks. People are already there. I think the government should take that stronger step, and just say that masks are going to be able to help reduce the spread of this thing.”

Kinew added he believes the province should increase testing capacity for COVID-19, and is calling on the province to give individual school divisions the ability to mandate masks in their regions.

“We do want a strong approach across the province, but if we have an area like Brandon, where we are seeing increased cases, and the school division officials want to mandate masks, they should be able to do so,” he said.