WINNIPEG -- Long called for COVID-19 modelling data shows Manitoba's daily COVID-19 case numbers are exceeding an extreme and worst-case scenario, leading the province on a similar path as it was in the second wave.

On Friday, Manitoba's deputy chief public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal released COVID-19 modelling data that was used to determine what public health measures were put in place in Manitoba.

Atwal said all key metrics indicate that case counts and severe outcomes including an increase in hospital and ICU admissions in Manitoba will continue to grow substantially over the coming days.

The modelling – which has been updated to include variants of concern – simulates the decisions of 1.4 million people. It shows the extreme and worst-case scenario in the province up until the end of September.

"Recent projections point in the direction that immunizations will be able to control the spread of COVID-19 in the longer term," Atwal said.

The modelling shows Manitoba's daily number of diagnosed cases is now exceeding the upper end of the extreme scenario.

"This means that we are on a similar path as we were during the second wave prior to the lockdown," Atwal said. "This is most likely due to the highly transmissible variants of the virus." 

COVID-19 modelling May 14 2021

COVID-19 modelling data released in Manitoba on May 14, 2021. (Source: Province of Manitoba)

Atwal said the rise in cases is due to some Manitobans not limiting close contacts and not adhering to the public health orders in place.

He said if this continues, the modelling shows that Manitoba could see high case counts throughout the summer, peaking in mid-July, and inching the health-care system closer to becoming overwhelmed.

Atwal said it is possible the five-day test positivity rate could go above 15 per cent in the extreme scenario. The five-day test positivity rate in Manitoba on Friday was 11.8 per cent.

"We have always focused on having the least amount of restrictions on Manitobans but as we saw case numbers rise – we had to do more," Atwal said. "All along we continued to stress the importance to adhering as this is paramount in preventing the spread of COVID-19."


Atwal said while there has been a sharp increase in daily COVID-19 cases, there is usually a lag between when a case is identified and when it shows up in hospital.

"Some variants of concern offer a higher risk of severe outcomes," Atwal said. "Different populations – younger and healthier, or non-vaccinated people – are now requiring hospital care to a greater degree, which can still challenge the healthcare system’s capacity."

The modelling data shows under the extreme scenario, daily hospitalizations and ICU admissions could continue to rise throughout the summer, with close to 100 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital and close to 20 COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care in the peak of the third wave.

COVID-19 modelling May 14 2021

COVID-19 modelling data released in Manitoba on May 14, 2021. (Source: Province of Manitoba)

He said in the past few weeks about half of COVID-19 hospital admissions have been among those younger than 50 years old.

"Being young does not make you immune to COVID-19. Being young does not mean you will not have a severe outcome,” he said.

This modelling data comes as the province reported 491 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and no new deaths.

READ MORE: 491 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba Friday

On Thursday, the province reported 560 new cases – the highest single-day spike in cases yet in the pandemic.

You can see the full COVID-19 modelling data below.