3 deaths and 90 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Manitoba Thursday

There are three more deaths and 90 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Thursday as the test positivity rate drops below five per cent in the province for the first time since Oct. 21. 

The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the province is now 862. 

The deaths announced Thursday are a man in his 70s from the Winnipeg region, linked to an outbreak at Southeast Personal Care home, a man in his 90s from the Winnipeg region, linked to an outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital, and a woman in her 70s from the Southern Health region.

The current five-day test positivity rate for Manitoba is 4.9 per cent, while in Winnipeg it is 3.9 per cent.

The test positivity rate for the province hasn’t been below five per cent since Oct. 21. However, that’s still within the range that indicates community spread. 

Earlier this week, the province’s chief public health officer announced the arrival of the coronavirus variant first seen in the U.K.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, said Manitoba can now tell whether the variant is detected in positive COVID-19 cases within 48 hours. The province didn’t have that ability before, he said. 

There are currently 244 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 32 ICU patients. Those numbers include 92 patients who are considered contagious and 152 who are no longer infectious but still require care. Fourteen patients in ICU are still considered infectious while 18 are not but still require care. 

There are currently 14 COVID-19 patients on ventilators, six of whom are considered infectious. 

Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said hospitals are still operating well above their normal threshold, but hospitalizations from COVID-19 appear to be trending in the right direction. 

Manitoba has had double-digit cases all week. 

Most of the new cases Thursday were in the Northern Health Region, which has 43. Twenty-three cases were identified in the Winnipeg health region, 13 were in the Interlake-Eastern health region, eight were in the Prairie Mountain Health region, and three were in the Southern Health region. 

There were 1,890 tests completed Wednesday, the province says.