532 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths reported in Manitoba on Sunday

There are 532 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Sunday and three more people have died after contracting a more contagious coronavirus variant, the province said in a news release.

Nearly 80 per cent of those cases are again in the Winnipeg health region, which reported 422 new cases.

The five-day test positivity rate in that region rose to 13 per cent on Sunday, up from 12.6 on Saturday. Across the province, that rate rose to 10.9 per cent from 10.5.

The deaths announced Sunday are all women who were infected with the B117 variant first identified in the U.K. Two were from the Winnipeg health region — one in her 50s and another in her 80s — while the third woman in her 60s was from the Prairie Mountain Health region, the province said.

The rest of the new cases are split between the Southern Health region (which reported 40), the Prairie Mountain Health region (34), the Interlake-Eastern health region (27) and the Northern Health Region (nine).

There are now 210 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Manitoba, up by 10 since Saturday. Fifty-two of those people are in intensive care, down by two.

Numbers on coronavirus variants in Manitoba won’t be updated again until Tuesday. As of the most recent update on Saturday, there were 3,665 cases of the more transmissible strains detected in the province, including 1,345 considered active, according to Manitoba’s online variant dashboard.

Those variants now make up at least 38 per cent of Manitoba’s active COVID-19 caseload, which sits at 3,499 as of Sunday.

Manitoba has now identified a total of 41,425 COVID-19 cases, including 37,461 people who are now considered recovered.

The latest deaths bring Manitoba’s total coronavirus-linked fatalities to 993.

The update comes hours after stricter pandemic rules took effect after the stroke of midnight on Sunday in Manitoba. 

The latest restrictions outlaw in-person dining at restaurants and shut down businesses ranging from gyms to salons. Indoor activities including church services and sports are also banned for at least three weeks.

No changes to schools were included in the latest public health order, but an impromptu news conference is scheduled for Sunday afternoon to provide an update on changes coming to classrooms.

The move follows growing calls from parents and teachers to move to remote learning as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Manitoba.

When Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced the new restrictions on Friday, he said the province was “actively looking at” shutting down schools but had not made a decision yet.

“We are going to able to provide more information on that in the very near future,” he said.