Manitoba health officials reported four more deaths related to COVID-19 and 427 new cases on Thursday – the second-highest single-day jump since the start of the pandemic.
The number of patients in hospital with the illness jumped to 153, up by 13 compared to Wednesday, with 16 of those in intensive care units.
The number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 has set a new record every day for more than two weeks now, although the number of ICU patients fell Thursday from a high of 21 on Wednesday.
Three of the deaths are linked to outbreaks in Winnipeg hospitals. One of those, a woman in her 80s, is connected to the outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital. The other two — a man and a woman, both in their 70s — are connected to the outbreak at Victoria General Hospital.
A woman in her 50s in the Southern Health region has also died.
These latest deaths bring Manitoba’s toll since the start of the pandemic to 91.
The province’s test positivity rate — a rolling average of the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive — also reached its second-highest point, at 8.9 per cent on Thursday.
The Winnipeg Health region continued to produce the majority of new cases, with 265 reported on Thursday. The Northern Health region had 60 new cases, and there were 55 in the Southern Health region, 32 in the Interlake-Eastern region and 15 in Prairie Mountain Health.
These latest numbers come four days after the Winnipeg region went to the red, or “critical” level of the province’s pandemic response system, while the rest of the province went to the orange, or restricted level.
On Thursday, Premier Brian Pallister announced his government will not move forward with a proposed curfew for the Winnipeg region, saying it would be premature given that the heightened restrictions under the code red only recently came into effect.
Instead, Pallister promised to step up enforcement of existing public health orders.
4 new outbreaks
Peguis First Nation has also moved to the critical level, the province announced on Thursday, after community leaders and health officials observed “a trend of concerning case numbers,” the provincial government said in a news release.
The chief and council have banned public gatherings and ordered people to stay home, except for medical appointments or to send one member of the household to get essential items. Workers in essential services are exempt.
Non-medical masks must be worn outside the home.
Health officials declared outbreaks in four personal care homes, including at Bethesda Place in Steinbach, where a previous outbreak led to the deaths of four residents.
They also declared outbreaks at the Rest Haven Care Home and Cedarwood Supportive Housing in Steinbach, and the Park Manor Care Home in Winnipeg.
An outbreak has also been declared in a second unit at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, this time in the GA4 unit. Health officials declared an outbreak in the A4 unit after seven patients tested positive on Wednesday.
Outbreaks at the YWCA in Thompson and the Meadowood Manor personal care home in Winnipeg have been declared over.
The new cases announced Thursday bring the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Manitoba to 7,177, after one previously announced case was removed because it was determined to be from out of province.
Provincial data shows there are currently 4,166 active cases in Manitoba, although health officials have said that number is likely inflated because of a backlog clearing recovered cases.
Labs completed 4,055 COVID-19 tests on Wednesday — a new one-day record for Manitoba.
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