Manitoba reports 7 more COVID-19 deaths, including 6 linked to more contagious variants

Seven more Manitobans have died after getting COVID-19, the province announced on Sunday as it reported 292 new cases of the illness.

Five of the men who died had contracted the B117 coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K., the province said in a news release.

That included one man in his 60s from the Interlake-Eastern health region, one in his 70s from the Northern Health Region and three — in their 40s, 60s and 70s — from the Winnipeg health region.

The deaths of two men in their 70s from the Southern Health region were also reported, including one who had an unspecified coronavirus variant. They bring Manitoba’s total deaths linked to COVID-19 to 1,052, the release said.

While updates on coronavirus variants are only provided in Manitoba Tuesday through Saturday, the latest numbers show the more infectious strains make up more than 60 per cent of the province’s total 4,569 COVID-19 cases that are still considered active.

The B117 variant now makes up nearly half Manitoba’s known cases of the more contagious strains, the province’s online variant dashboard says.

Meanwhile, more than 60 per cent of Manitoba’s latest COVID-19 cases are in the Winnipeg health region, which reported 183 infections.

The area’s five-day test positivity rate is now 13.6 per cent, down from 14 on Friday. That number was not updated on Saturday because of technical issues, the province said at the time.

Manitoba’s rate sank slightly to 12.3 per cent from 12.4 on Saturday.

The rest of the new cases are split between the Southern Health region (which posted 46), the Prairie Mountain Health region (32), the Northern Health region (19) and the Interlake-Eastern health region (12), the release said.

There are now 308 people being treated in Manitoba hospitals after getting COVID-19, including 74 in intensive care.

Those numbers don’t include patients who have been moved to other provinces for critical care as Manitoba works to free up space in its overwhelmed intensive care units. 

On Saturday, a Shared Health spokesperson said there were 28 Manitobans being cared for in hospitals outside the province: 27 across Ontario and one in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba has now identified 50,790 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic last year, including 45,169 people deemed recovered.

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