110 new COVID-19 cases, 1 more death in Manitoba Friday

There are 110 new COVID-19 cases and one more death from the coronavirus in Manitoba on Friday, health officials say.

The Manitoban who died was a woman in her 40s from the Winnipeg health region. There have now been 838 COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba.

With Friday’s cases, Manitoba surpasses 30,000 total known COVID-19 cases since March 12, 2020.

“We’ve seen, overall, that our numbers continue to be headed in a good direction,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, during a news conference Friday afternoon.

“Of course, we’re working hard in certain areas of the Northern Health Region to bring down the numbers that we’re seeing.”

The Northern Health Region reported the most new cases Friday, with 40, while 38 were reported in the Winnipeg health region. There are 13 new cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 11 in the Southern Health region and eight in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

There are 3,353 known active COVID-19 cases, provincial data says, although health officials have said that number may be inflated due to a backlog in data entry.

Manitoba’s five-day test-positivity rate sits at six per cent Friday; that rate is down to 3.5 per cent in Winnipeg, the release says.

There are 269 people being treated in hospital for COVID-19 on Friday — an increase of five from Thursday. That includes 40 patients in the intensive care unit, which is an increase of four from Thursday.

The COVID-19 outbreak at Dauphin Regional Health Centre in Dauphin, Man., has been declared over.

On Thursday, Roussin and Premier Brian Pallister announced they are considering new public health orders that could allow many services, businesses and activities to reopen.

The province’s COVID-19 curve has been bending in the right direction, which means it’s time to look at further reopening the economy, Pallister said Thursday.

The province is floating the idea of allowing restaurants, tattoo parlours, gyms, nail salons, libraries and places of worship to reopen with limited capacity. It also is considering increasing capacity for weddings to 10 and enabling the film industry and photographers to resume work.

Organized outdoor sports may be allowed to resume games and practices but not multi-team tournaments.

An online survey has been launched to gauge public opinion.

Any further reopening will include all of Manitoba, Roussin said Friday, but the province will remain under code red despite any loosening of restrictions.

“We’ve been here before,” Roussin said.

“If we are not careful with our reopening plans, if we’re not careful with how we — as Manitobans — react to those reopening plans, then our next month could be back to where we saw in November.”

Only a small portion of the province’s population has been vaccinated for COVID-19, and variant strains of the novel coronavirus — first reported in the United Kingdom and South Africa — have been reported in neighbouring provinces, so Manitobans must still be cautious, he said.

Those variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are more transmissible — and potentially more deadly — than the original strain.

There have been no cases of a variant in Manitoba to date, said Roussin.