447 new COVID-19 cases, 14 more deaths in Manitoba on Friday

There are 447 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Friday and 14 more people have died from the illness, the province says in a news release.

There are now 297 people in hospital with the illness, down by one from Thursday; 40 of those people are in intensive care, which is a drop of three.

The latest deaths, which include two men in their 50s from the Winnipeg health region and eight other deaths connected to outbreaks at care homes and health-care facilities, bring Manitoba’s coronavirus-linked death toll to 465.

Manitoba’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate — a rolling average of the tests that come back positive — is up again to 13.8 per cent, the news release says. In Winnipeg, that rate is down to 13.2 per cent.

More to come

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Manitoba’s top health officials are set to give the latest details about COVID-19 in the province at a news conference on Friday.

CBC News will live stream the announcement from Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin and Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, here at 12:30 p.m.

On Thursday, the province announced 298 people with COVID-19 were in hospital in Manitoba, the first time in more than two weeks that number has dipped below 300.

Officials also announced 13 more deaths linked to the illness, including six linked to the Charleswood Care Centre.

Meanwhile, the province’s critical-care program was operating at 196 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity, with 129 of its 141 beds in use, a spokesperson for Shared Health said later Thursday. Forty-three of those people had active cases of COVID-19.

Later Thursday, the chief of Shamattawa First Nation, where roughly one in every four people has tested positive for the illness, said members of the Canadian military had completed a reconnaissance mission and more help might be on the way.

Shamattawa Chief Eric Redhead said a request has been made for an additional 60 to 70 members of the Canadian Armed Forces to travel to the remote northern Manitoba fly-in community to help in its fight against COVID-19.

Redhead said that number would include 15 to 20 medics who would do community wellness checks as they deliver groceries to people in isolation.

Earlier this week, officials announced the first 1,950 doses of the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are set to arrive in Manitoba next week.

Those doses, which officials said would be enough for roughly 900 people, will be reserved for health-care workers in critical care units.

More details about the vaccine’s rollout in Manitoba are expected to be announced next week, Roussin said on Thursday.

The province also announced earlier this week that it will extend current public health orders until Jan. 8, with a few exceptions that include allowing drive-in services and letting thrift stores reopen.