Manitoba reports lowest test positivity rate since October as 70 new COVID-19 cases announced

Manitoba announced 70 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and reported its lowest test positivity rate in more than four months.

That rate dropped to 4.3 per cent from 4.6 the day before, the lowest announced since Oct. 20, when it was at the same spot. Winnipeg’s rate dipped to 3.8 per cent from four on Wednesday.

A man in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region died, bringing the province’s total number of coronavirus-linked deaths to 888.

Most of the new cases on Thursday are split between the Winnipeg health region, which has 31 cases, and the Northern Health Region, with 30, the province says in a news release.

There are seven new cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region and two in the Southern Health region, while the Prairie Mountain Health region reported no new infections.

Strict public health orders on Pauingassi First Nation, about 280 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, have been lifted now that the risk of COVID-19 spreading in that community has stabilized, the release says.

The fly-in community of about 500 people brought in stay-at-home orders at the start of this month when nearly one in every four people there tested positive for the illness.

All Manitoba’s other public health orders are still in effect.

There are now 196 COVID-19 patients in hospital in Manitoba, a drop of 11 since Wednesday. Twenty-six of those people are in intensive care, down by three.

No new cases of the more infectious B117 coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K. have been identified in Manitoba since one was announced on Tuesday, bringing the province’s total to five.

Three previously announced COVID-19 cases were removed from Manitoba’s total on Thursday because of a data correction, the release says. That brings the number of cases identified in the province so far to 31,657.

Of those cases, 29,563 people are considered to have recovered from the illness, while 1,206 are still deemed active — a number health officials have said may be inflated by a data entry backlog.

There were 2,290 more COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Wednesday, bringing the total number of swabs completed in the province to 519,892 since early last February.

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