Record-tying 9 COVID-19 deaths, 474 new cases today

There are 474 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Thursday and nine more people with the illness have died, the province says in a news release.

It’s the second day in a row Manitoba has announced nine deaths — the highest number of coronavirus-linked fatalities announced in a single day.

The province’s five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is now 11 per cent in Manitoba, another record. In Winnipeg, that rate is 11.4 per cent, the release says.

The latest numbers are “sobering,” Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference on Thursday.

“The message is: stay home. The message is: do not socialize outside of your household,” he said.

“These orders are here to save Manitobans’ lives, and so we don’t need to find a way around them. We just need to find a way to step up and follow them.”

All of Manitoba is in the critical red zone of the province’s pandemic response system as of Thursday.

The maximum gathering size across Manitoba is five people, not including household members at a hosting home — leaving the province’s cap on gatherings unchanged in the new rules, contrary to statements Roussin made earlier this week when he said there should be no gatherings with people outside the household.

While a ban on gatherings between households is not part of Manitoba’s latest public health order, people still need to stay home and only socialize in person with those in their household, Roussin said Thursday.

Roussin suggested there would be no way to enforce the household-only gathering rule.

The new rules also shut down gyms, places of worship, theatres, hair salons, recreational centres and non-essential retail stores. Those measures will stay in place for at least two weeks, but likely longer, Roussin said.

The restrictions introduced in Manitoba this week are the toughest the province has seen during the pandemic, Roussin said. Even with widespread shutdowns in April, group sizes of 10 people were still allowed and no restrictions on private gatherings were brought in, he said.

The deaths announced Thursday include four people linked to the outbreak at the Maples Long Term Care Home: three men and one woman, all in their 80s.

They also include a woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at Holy Family Home, a man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at the Bethesda Regional Health Care medicine unit and a man in his 60s linked to the outbreak at Parkview Place Long Term Care Home. 

Two other Winnipeg women not linked to any outbreak — one in her 50s and one in her 70s — were also among the deaths announced Thursday.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Manitoba also reached a new high on Thursday, climbing to 227, with 34 of those in intensive care, the release says.

An outbreak has been declared at the River East Personal Care Home in Winnipeg, which has now been moved to the critical red level of the pandemic response system, the release says.

Most of the new cases announced Thursday — 315 — are in the Winnipeg health region, the release says. There are 94 in the Southern Health region, 26 in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 20 in the Northern Health region and 19 in the Prairie Mountain Health region, the release says.

There have now been 9,782 cases of COVID-19 detected in Manitoba. Of those, 6,030 are considered active, though Roussin said that number is skewed because of a data entry backlog and is likely closer to 3,163.

Another 3,620 people have recovered and 132 have died, the release says.

On Wednesday, 3,717 more COVID-19 tests were completed in Manitoba, bringing the total done in the province since early February to 300,169, the release says.

Possible COVID-19 exposures are listed on the province’s website.

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