COVID-19 hospitalizations, influenza cases drop in Manitoba

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 fell last week in Manitoba, while the province reported no new cases of influenza in its latest respiratory surveillance report.

There were 37 people admitted to hospital and six sent to intensive care with COVID-19 during the week of March 12 to 18, the latest report says. Those numbers are down from 53 and nine the week before.

The report noted the incidence rate for COVID-19 in people 80 and older has increased over the last three weeks, and older adults continue to have a higher risk for infection, associated hospital admissions and deaths.

It also said overall laboratory detection has decreased since the fall of 2022, while wastewater surveillance data also indicates sustained COVID-19 activity in Winnipeg and Brandon at lower levels than last fall.

The province reported two outbreaks of the illness in long-term care facilities, down from six the week before. Manitoba again reported no deaths linked to COVID-19.

The report also included 155 cases of COVID-19 during the reporting week, with a test positivity rate of 15.7 per cent — up from 129 and 14.7 per cent the week before. However, the number of cases is an undercount because of limited access to PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, testing, which is what the province uses to determine case counts.

There were no new cases of influenza A or B reported in Manitoba last week, or any hospitalizations or deaths linked to those flu strains. Three cases of influenza A were reported the week before.

Overall, flu activity this season started early and also decreased earlier than expected, the report said.

The number of cases and weekly positivity rate for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, also decreased from the previous week, the report said, but it did not provide a specific number of RSV cases. There were 40 RSV cases for the week of March 5-11.

The province says its next respiratory surveillance report will be issued on April 6.