Total number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba since March hit 400
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba health officials are announcing six new cases of COVID-19 have been identified on Monday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba since March to 400.
Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, and Manitoba's Health Minister Cameron Friesen made the announcement Monday afternoon. The six cases on Monday come after four cases were identified on Saturday, and another six cases were identified on Sunday.
"Many of these cases are related to travel or close contacts to known cases," Roussin said.
This brings the total number of active cases in the province to 74, while the number of recoveries remains at 319. The current five-day test positivity rate is 0.45 per cent.
The province said there are three people in hospital due to the virus, two of whom are in intensive care.
The number of deaths remains at seven.
The new cases were spread across each of Manitoba's health regions, including:
- four new cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region;
- four new cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
- four new cases in the Winnipeg health region; and
- four new cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
Roussin said seven of the new cases were known contacts to a previous case, while five were related to travel. Roussin one case has been classified as not epidemiologically linked to a confirmed case.
The province said case investigations are ongoing, and more information will be released as needed to let the public know of any health risks.
PROVINCE LOOKS TO INCREASE DAILY TESTING CAPACITY
The province said 1,393 laboratory tests were completed on Friday, with another 1,581 tests being completed on Saturday and 808 tests completed on Sunday. This brings the total number of laboratory tests completed in Manitoba since early February to 84,967.
"We've done well, even this last weekend, on continuing to test," Friesen said. "Lab-testing of COVID-19 samples is crucial and a cornerstone of our approach."
He said the province is continuing to increase testing capacity, adding DynaCare has plans to reach the 1,400 tests-per-day threshold this week.
Friesen said the province realizes the need for more screening sites, and recognizes the large lineups that have been at screening sites across the province. He said the MPI drive-thru testing site on Main Street was scheduled to close in August, but will remain open to keep up with the demand for testing in the province.
This news conference comes two days after Manitoba entered Phase 4 of its economic reopening.
During this phase, the province has increased visitation at personal and long-term care homes; altered the restrictions on faith-based gatherings; and allowed movie theatres, live theatres, and casinos to resume operations.
MANY CASES IN MANITOBA LINKED TO FUNERALS
In recent weeks, Manitoba has also seen a spike in COVID-19 cases following a near-two week period with no new cases.
"It's possible that because of the low numbers, because of how difficult it was for those months with heavy restrictions – we may have lost some of our focus and loosened up on some of the things that got us here," Roussin said.
"We're going to have to live with this virus – we're not going to escape a pandemic here. We are going to see cases, we are going to see hospitalizations."
He added Manitobans need to continue with measures such as proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, and avoiding crowded indoor spaces.
"We know a number of our cases are linked to such things as funerals – we know this is where this virus can thrive in events like this," Roussin said. "This is close, prolonged contact. The nature of such events makes physical distancing difficult, and if we are not cautious, this is where we see this virus spread."
Roussin said if Manitobans are in a situation where physical distancing is not possible, they should wear a mask. He said those at greater risk, such as people over the age of 65, those with underlying medical conditions, and those who have compromised immune systems, need to take extra caution to avoid enclosed crowded spaces.
"We can't emphasize enough – stay home if you are ill, even if it's mild symptoms," Roussin said.
PROVINCE TO HOLD COVID-19 UPDATES ONCE A WEEK
Friesen said the province will be reducing the number of live COVID-19 updates from the Legislature to once a week. Friesen added he will be joining Roussin for the updates moving forward.
At the height of the pandemic, Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, joined Roussin for daily COVID-19 updates.
Friesen said bulletins giving the updates on COVID-19 case numbers will still be released daily.
-with files from CTV's Kayla Rosen