Influenza spread rises in Manitoba, while COVID-19 activity remains similar: report

Influenza spread is on the rise in Manitoba, while COVID-19 activity remains similar to the week before, the province’s latest surveillance report says.

The report is the first that combines data on both illnesses, and will be published online around 10 a.m. every Friday. Previously, the province published COVID-19 data on Thursdays.

Influenza activity across Manitoba has increased over the last three weeks, the report says. In the most recent reporting week, test positivity for influenza A — the predominant strain circulating, which typically has a higher risk for older adults — increased to 7.4 per cent.

That’s still lower than the 11.7 per cent seen nationally, the report says. The increase is earlier than expected for this time of year.

Up to the most recent week — from Nov. 6 to 12 — about one-third of influenza A cases are among people under 18. Kids under five also accounted for 13 per cent of all influenza cases and 20 per cent of associated hospitalizations, the report says.

The report also notes other respiratory viruses have increased. That includes RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, which had a test positivity rate of 5.5 per cent in the most recent week, or 45 cases.

That’s up from three per cent the week before, the report says.

The average daily number of influenza specimens tested was 116 in the most recent reporting week. While influenza A is on the rise, the test positivity rate for influenza B was zero, the report says.

There were 10 hospital admissions for influenza in the most recent reporting week and none in intensive care.

The total number of deaths linked to influenza this year is fewer than five, the report says. It also noted two influenza A outbreaks.

Five units of antiviral were also given at pharmacies in the most recent reporting week. The average daily respiratory visits to the emergency department was 2,255.

COVID-19 ICU admissions up slightly: report

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Manitoba remain relatively unchanged in the latest report, while intensive care admissions of people with the illness are up slightly from the previous week.

From Nov. 6 to 12, 111 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 110 the previous week, the report says.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 remained over 100 last week, the province’s latest report says. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Eleven more people were admitted to intensive care units, up from eight ICU admissions the week before.

There were 273 lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba during the most recent reporting week, though that number is likely a significant undercount of the true number of infections. That’s because of limited access to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests — the only type of test result the province records.

A daily average of 350 PCR tests were done and the weekly test positive rate went down slightly to 24.5 per cent from 25 per cent.

Wastewater data gathered by the federal government shows a rise in viral load at two of Winnipeg’s three treatment plants. The West End treatment plant shows a decrease, while the North End and South End plants show increases.

The viral load in wastewater in Brandon, Man., also decreased slightly.