312 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death reported in Manitoba

Manitoba public health officials announced 312 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death from the illness on Wednesday.

The death is a woman in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Holy Family personal care home.

The greatest portion of the latest cases — 240 — are in the Winnipeg health region. The rest are in the Southern (34), Interlake–Eastern (20), Prairie Mountain (11) and Northern (seven) health regions.

The total number of people now in hospital with COVID is 318, a slight increase from 314 on Tuesday. However, the number of people in intensive care units decreased to 74 from 79 on Tuesday.

That doesn’t include 23 critically ill COVID-19 patients who have been transferred to hospitals in Ontario — including five on Tuesday — as Manitoba struggles to create room in its strained ICUs. The latest five were sent to hospitals in Thunder Bay, Ottawa and St. Thomas, according to a provincial spokesperson. 

The spokesperson said more COVID patients in ICU are scheduled for transfer to Ontario on Wednesday, but did not say how many.

Including the patients being cared for in Ontario, the number of Manitobans in ICUs due to COVID-19 is actually 97. That number is expected to continue to grow, after Manitoba saw a spike in cases in recent weeks.

The number of Manitobans who have died from COVID since the start of the pandemic remains at 1,035, including 55 deaths caused by variants of concern, after the province said the death of a man in his 30s from the Winnipeg health region reported Tuesday was removed due to a data correction.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 13.3 per cent provincially (a dip from 13.8 on Tuesday) and 15  per cent in Winnipeg (down from 15.9).

Wednesday’s COVID-19 update was delayed due to technical issues, the Manitoba government said on Twitter. The province’s online COVID-19 dashboard wasn’t updated until nearly two hours later than the usual 12:30 p.m. update, and a news release with the latest update was sent about an hour after that.

Another 314 cases involving more contagious coronavirus variants have been discovered and a previously announced death was caused by a variant, the province’s variant dashboard says. The death would have been announced earlier, but was only recently determined to be caused by a variant, due to the extra time needed for testing for variants.

All of the newly announced variant cases are the B117 variant, which is the dominant strain among variants in the province, making up 46 per cent of the total.