491 new COVID-19 cases, no deaths reported in Manitoba on Friday

There are 491 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, say health officials, adding no new deaths from the virus were reported.

The Winnipeg health region has 328 of the new cases, while the Southern Health region is second highest, with 88.

There are 41 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 24 in the Prairie Mountain Health region and 10 in the Northern Health Region.

The number of new cases of variants of concern went up nearly as much, with 401 since Thursday. That brings to total number of variants reported in Manitoba to 5,611.

Of those, 2,144 are considered active with the others having recovered.

The current five-day test positivity rate is 11.8 per cent provincially and 14.2 per cent in Winnipeg. Both of those numbers are slightly down from Thursday, when they were 12 and 14.4, respectively.

The total number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 is 239, down one from the previous day, but the number of people in intensive care jumped from 62 to 67.

The total number of deaths of Manitobans with COVID-19 since the pandemic began remains at 1,002.

Allergies and COVID symptoms

Making the distinction between seasonal allergies and COVID-19 symptoms can be difficult, Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, said Friday.

“I want to encourage all Manitobans to err on the side of caution and take the online screening tool if you’re showing typical allergy or cold symptoms. If this results in a recommendation to go for testing, please do so and self-isolate until you receive your results,” he said.

“We want you to be safe and keep those around you safe, and going for a test is the best option.”

A new mobile testing site at 1181 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg will open May 17.

The site, which will operate seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., will offer testing through appointments that can be booked starting May 16 by calling 1-888-986-8152.

The province also announced Friday that day services for adults with intellectual disabilities, provided through Community Living DisAbility Services, will be suspended for two weeks in Winnipeg beginning Monday due to health and safety measures required to keep families, individuals and staff safe.

Some exceptions may be made if the safety of individuals cannot be managed in residential care or at home during the day, said Atwal. 

Individuals being supported at home will be encouraged to use virtual meetings and other technology to stay connected with friends, families and the broader community.