222 new COVID-19 cases, 9 more deaths in Manitoba on Friday

There are 222 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Friday and nine more people have died from the illness, the province says.

The province’s five-day test positivity rate is now up to 10.1 per cent, a news release says, after it dropped below 10 per cent on Thursday for the first time in nearly two months. In Winnipeg, that rate is 10.3 per cent.

The latest deaths include three people in their 50s from Winnipeg and four deaths linked to outbreaks in care homes and health-care facilities across the province.

More than 355 recent COVID-19 cases and nearly 1,900 contacts have been definitively linked to gatherings over the holidays, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference. Some of those gatherings saw more than two dozen people get together, Roussin said.

The latest update comes after Manitoba extended its public health orders for two more weeks.

More to come

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Manitoba health officials are set to give a COVID-19 update Friday afternoon, after the province’s public health orders were extended until Jan. 22 with minor changes.

CBC News will live stream the announcement from Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin and Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Manitoba Shared Health, here.

The restrictions that ban most gatherings and the sale of non-essential goods were set to expire at 11:59 p.m. tonight, and now have been extended, with only a small change to allow exemptions for professional hockey.

Manitoba continued its COVID-19 vaccine campaign this week, with the list of people eligible to get their first doses expanding to soon include care home residents and some inmates at Manitoba’s federal prison.

But Manitoba does not expect to immunize everyone who wants a shot by the end of the year. A vaccination rollout plan published by the province projects that about 70 per cent of Manitobans will get both doses before 2022.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, the province’s acting deputy chief public health officer, said on Thursday those numbers are based on information the province has right now, and are likely to change over the next weeks and months.

Vaccines are also making their way to all 63 First Nations in the province, with the first shipments having arrived on Thursday.

Manitoba announced 208 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, marking a slight jump after daily new case counts hovered below 200 for days.

Meanwhile, the province’s test positivity rate dipped to 9.9 per cent — dropping below 10 per cent for the first time in nearly two months.