Manitoba warns of possible coronavirus variant exposures in Winnipeg

Health officials in Manitoba are warning of three recent possible exposures to a more-contagious variant of COVID-19 in Winnipeg.

They say the potential exposures to a probable B.1.1.7 variant of concern happened at the following locations in the city over the weekend:

  • March 5 – Silver Heights Restaurant at 2169 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg from 5 to 7 p.m.;
  • March 6 – Chicken Chef Restaurant at Unicity Mall, 3770 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg from 5 to 7 p.m.; and
  • March 6 – Garden City Hairstylists in the Garden City Shopping Centre at #143-2305 McPhillips St. in Winnipeg from noon to 12:30 p.m.

The B.1.1.7 variant, first discovered in the United Kingdom, is one of a number of so-called “variants of concern” or VoCs to have been identified since the pandemic began a year ago.

Read more: Fear, dread, helplessness: Winnipeg critical care doctor reflects on year of COVID-19

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It is up to 50% more transmissible than the virus that surged last spring and again in the fall, making it more adept at thwarting measures that were previously effective, World Health Organization experts have warned. Scientists have concluded that it is also more deadly.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba detects first case of South African variant' Coronavirus: Manitoba detects first case of South African variant

Coronavirus: Manitoba detects first case of South African variant

The variant was first reported in Manitoba Feb. 9.

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The province says anyone who is concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 should call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or 1-800-315-9257 to be screened to see if a test is required.

Manitoba has so far reported 11 cases of the U.K. variant as well as 11 cases of another variant of concern, the  B.1.351 strain, first discovered in South Africa.

Read more: Coronavirus: Manitoba reports 5 new cases of UK variant, 8 new cases of South African strain

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No new variants of concern were reported in Manitoba Thursday.

Health officials did, however, report 91 new COVID-19 infections and three additional deaths.

The virus’s latest victims include a woman in her 60s from the Winnipeg Health region, a woman in her 90s connected to an outbreak outbreak at Actionmarguerite St. Boniface in Winnipeg, and a man in his 70s from the Northern Health region.

Manitoba’s COVID-19 death toll now sits at 911.

Thursday’s new infections come from around the province, with the most — 50 new cases — being reported in the Northern Health region.

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Another 31 cases were reported in the Winnipeg Health region, seven infections were found in the Southern Health region, two cases were reported in the Prairie Mountain Health region, and one case was reported in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.

Read more: COVID-19 anniversary: How the university experience changed in Manitoba

A total of 1,204 cases remain active, health officials said, and 30,394 Manitobans with the virus have recovered.

The number of Manitobans who have contracted COVID-19 rose to 32,509 Thursday after three previously announced cases were removed from the list due to what the province says are data corrections.

–With files from The Associated Press

–More to come…

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