One death, more than 120 COVID-19 cases reported in Manitoba on Tuesday
WINNIPEG -- COVID-19 cases have spiked again in the province after Manitoba's top doctor announced one more death and 124 more cases identified over the long weekend.
On Tuesday following the Thanksgiving long weekend, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said the most recent death is a man in his 70s from the rural east district in the Southern Health region. Roussin said this was a previously announced case.
The number of deaths related to the disease is now at 35. Roussin said eight people have died of COVID-19 since Friday, Oct. 9.
"These tragedies underscore the need to protect those who are most vulnerable to this infection," he said. "The best way to protect them is to protect ourselves and limit the transmission of this virus in our communities."
The province now has 1,248 active cases. The five-day test positivity rate in Manitoba is now at 3.5 per cent.
The new cases include:
- 16 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
- one case in the Northern health region;
- three cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region;
- nine cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and
- 95 cases in the Winnipeg health region.
BACKLOG IN CASES RESULTED IN DELAY IN REPORTING
While the province said 124 cases were announced as of Tuesday morning, not all of them are new.
Roussin said these cases are actually from the weekend, but were only reported on Tuesday due to a backlog in cases.
"Over the weekend, extra staff was brought in to address these delays and we are now caught up," he said.
Roussin said 26 cases were identified from Monday, 83 were identified from Sunday and 15 were identified from Saturday.
PUBLIC HEALTH LOOKING AT FURTHER RESTRICTIONS IN WINNIPEG
Of Manitoba's total active cases, 1,059 are in the Winnipeg region – which remains under COVID-19 restrictions.
"We are looking right now what further restrictions could help with limiting the transmission – again it is very clear these kinds of restrictions have very severe impacts on individuals, on businesses as well," he said. "None of those moves are taken lightly."
He said it's been two weeks since the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region was placed on the restricted level on the province's pandemic response system, and one week since public health put restrictions on bars and restaurants in the area.
"We are going to continue to monitor the situation very closely, but we need to step up now with Manitobans," Roussin said, urging people to reduce their contacts with people outside their home.
He said Public Health wants to have the least amount of restrictions in place, adding Manitobans need to limit their own contacts to stop the transmission.
"We are going to be dealing with this virus for the foreseeable future, so we need to find ways to deal with it without having to lock ourselves down every time the virus starts transmitting."
INCREASING COMMUNITY-BASED TRANSMISSION IN WINNIPEG: ROUSSIN
The Downtown area of Winnipeg has the highest number of active cases, with 231 as of Tuesday. This is followed by the River East area which has 177 active cases, and the Fort Garry area which has 120 cases.
"What we're seeing here is an increasing community-based transmission – which makes it very difficult to take a very targeted approach," Roussin said.
He said the more contacts people have outside their home, the higher the risk is of transmitting COVID-19.
"We still see cases identified now that were out and had many contacts when they had symptoms – and it is entirely avoidable," Roussin said. "We just cannot succeed in this pandemic if people are out and about when they are symptomatic."
An epidemiologist at EPI Research, Cynthia Carr, said 40 per cent of the cases in Canada are people under the age of 40, but that age group only accounts for about 10% of hospitalizations.
“The challenge with that is when almost half of the cases are in a healthier more mobile age group, it gives that much more opportunity for the virus to spread.”
Carr said nationally in recent weeks, almost two out of three cases have an unknown contact.
She’s encouraging Manitobans to download the Health Canada COVID alert App to help the province track transmission and take pressure off the healthcare system.
The Interlake-Eastern health region now has 101 active cases, followed by the Southern Health-Santé Sud with 49 active cases, Prairie Mountain Health with 21 active cases, and the Northern health region with 18 active cases.
As of Tuesday, 1,496 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Manitoba. There are 28 people in hospital and five people in intensive care.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Manitoba in March, the province has had a total of 2,779 cases.