WINNIPEG -- The Northern Health Region continues to feel the full impact of COVID-19, as Manitoba announced 198 new cases on Thursday, 105 coming from the north.

Winnipeg was the next closest with 54 new cases, 17 cases are from the Prairie Mountain Health Region, 13 cases from the Southern Health Region, and nine cases are from the Interlake-Eastern Health Region.

There have been 28,089 cases since the start of the pandemic. Officials did remove two previously announced cases from the list due to a data correction.

The five-day test positivity rate is 6.6 per cent in Winnipeg and 9.2 per cent in Manitoba.

The province also announced five new deaths, bringing the death toll to 793.

The deaths include a woman in her 60s from the Northern Health Region, a man in his 80s from the Winnipeg area linked to the Poseidon Care Centre outbreak, and a man in his 80s from the Prairie Mountain Health region connected to the outbreak at McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre.

The other two deaths are in the Southern Health Region; a man in his 60s not linked to an outbreak, and a woman in her 90s who was part of the outbreak at Salem Home.

There are 3,205 active cases and 24,091 people have recovered.

Of the people hospitalized, 125 have COVID-19 and 23 are in intensive care. The numbers also include 143 people in hospital who have recovered from COVID but still require care, including 11 people in intensive care.

On Wednesday, 2,269 tests were completed, bringing the total to 459,134 since February 2020.

As the province announced a slight easing to the restrictions, which will take effect Saturday morning, Premier Brian Pallister reminded Manitobans that everyone still needs to follow the health orders in place.

"I'm encouraging Manitobans to recognize there are real reasons for caution right now. You know, frankly winter isn't even here yet. COVID variants, thank goodness, aren't here yet as far as we know either, but that is on the horizon and our vaccines aren't here yet either, to be frank, they're going to be slow in coming," said Pallister. "Those things aren't here yet but COVID is here."

He said people need to continue to be safe and on guard.

"Remember in three weeks’ time, if we do the right things, there may be the opportunity to make further progress," said Pallister.