WINNIPEG -- Manitoba currently has more people in ICU than it did when the province was placed under its second lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Manitoba recorded the highest daily number of COVID-19 cases in nearly five months, with 363 people infected with COVID-19.

READ MORE: 4 new COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba; province reports highest single-day case count since December.

This is the highest number of daily cases since Dec. 11, 2020, when the province reported 447 more infections of COVID-19. At the time, there were nearly 300 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 40 in intensive care.


On Nov. 12, 2020, Manitoba was placed under its second province-wide lockdown of the pandemic.

The province had reported 474 cases that day.

Thursday's case numbers were still far below this, along the five-day test positivity rate, which was at 9.1 per cent (10.4 per cent in Winnipeg) on Thursday compared to the 11 per cent (11.4 per cent in Winnipeg) it was at the beginning of the second lockdown.

While the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is not as high (185 on Thursday compared to 227 on Nov. 12, 2020), the ICU numbers have jumped.

On Thursday there were 52 people infected with COVID-19 in ICU – when the province went into its second lockdown, there were 34 COVID-19 patients in intensive care.

With more patients requiring critical care, Winnipeg hospitals are preparing to postpone elective surgeries, as nurses may be needed for the ICU and surgical wards may have to be converted to COVID-19 wards, according to an internal e-mail obtained by CTV News.

READ MORE: Winnipeg hospitals planning to postpone elective surgeries due to rising COVID-19 cases: memo

This comes as more than 200 doctors signed a letter to Premier Brian Pallister urging him to close nonessential businesses and further restrict gatherings to prevent the health-care system from getting overwhelmed.

Shared Health told CTV News on Wednesday there were a total of 105 patients in intensive care, compared to the second wave's peak on Dec. 10, 2020, when there were 129 total patients in ICU.

Shared Health said normal ICU capacity is 72.

-with files from CTV's Jeff Keele and Charles Lefebvre