Manitoba is reporting 267 new cases of COVID-19 and six deaths on Wednesday, with four linked to more transmissible variants, a news release says.
Most of the new cases are in the Winnipeg health region, which has 198 new infections. There are also 28 cases in the Southern Health region, 21 in the Northern Health Region, 14 in the Interlake-Eastern health region and six in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
There have now been 51,580 COVID-19 cases identified in Manitoba, of which 4,267 are considered active and 46,251 are recovered.
New COVID-19 case counts are dropping. The seven-day average case count was 320 on Wednesday, down one-third since May 22, when it was 482.
Half of the deaths were in the Southern Health region: a woman in her 60s, a woman in her 80s who had an unspecified variant of concern and a man in his 90s who had the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first found in the U.K. and has now been named the alpha variant.
The other half were in the Winnipeg health region: a woman in her 70s, a woman in her 90s who had the B.1.1.7 variant and a woman in her 80s.
The total number of deaths in the province due to COVID-19 is now 1,062.
Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate dropped to 11.5 per cent, from 12 per cent on Tuesday. In Winnipeg, that rate sank to 12.9 per cent from 13.5 per cent the day before.
There are now 294 COVID-19 patients in hospital, down from 305 on Tuesday.
Of those, 69 patients are in intensive care units in Manitoba. There are also dozens of critically ill Manitobans in hospitals in neighbouring provinces. Shared Health has not yet released updated numbers for out-of-province patients.
The province also reported 115 newly identified cases of more contagious coronavirus variants, Manitoba’s online variant dashboard says. There are 2,442 active cases across the province involving variants of concern.
The province will no longer inform people if they tested positive for a variant of concern because these cases account for more than 50 per cent of all new COVID-19 cases.
Public health officials will treat every positive case as if it is a coronavirus variant and do aggressive case and contact management, the news release says.
The variant data will continue to be reported on the dashboard and broken down by regional health authorities.
On Tuesday, 2,646 COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba.
Two new outbreaks have been declared in Winnipeg — one in the Seven Oaks General Hospital Unit 3U7 and the other at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre.
This latest update comes after Manitoba marked three consecutive days of hitting new records for the number of patients requiring intensive care on Tuesday, with 109 seriously ill COVID-19 patients being treated in ICU wards in Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan.
On Tuesday, the province also reported 232 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths from the illness, with two of the deaths linked to the highly transmissible alpha variant.