Manitoba COVID-19 patient dies in Ontario hospital

A Manitoba man in his 30s with COVID-19 who had been receiving critical care at an Ontario hospital since May 20 has died, Shared Health said in an online update Wednesday.

“We want to express our condolences to this individual’s family and loved ones for their loss,” Shared Health said.

The patient is the first to die after being moved out of province for care. Another patient, a woman in her 30s, died in a Manitoba hospital after a failed attempt to airlift her to a hospital in Ontario last week.

There are 109 Manitoba COVID-19 patients now in intensive care units, matching a record high set Tuesday. That includes 38 in hospitals in Ontario and two in Saskatchewan, Shared Health’s update said, with more expected to be transferred out of province later Wednesday.

Of the 69 ICU patients in Manitoba hospitals, 16 are under the age of 40.

For the month of May, 253 COVID patients were admitted to ICU. That’s more than five times the total for all of April, Shared Health says.

Alberta Health Services announced Wednesday it’s also offering help to Manitoba as the province faces continued stress in its critical care units.

Manitoba will send up to 10 patients who are currently in ICUs to Alberta to be cared for in Calgary or Edmonton hospitals, AHS says.

Case counts dropping

Manitoba reported 267 new cases of COVID-19 and six deaths on Wednesday, with four deaths linked to more transmissible coronavirus variants, a news release said.

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.

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. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

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. 

Outbreaks announced

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 the province 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.

Manitoba has transferred dozens of COVID-19 patients out of province because intensive care wards in Winnipeg and Brandon are overwhelmed. Now, one of them, a man his 30s, has died in an Ontario hospital. 1:02