Manitoba COVID-19 update comes as possible variants detected in First Nations

There are four more deaths and 167 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Tuesday.

More to come

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Manitoba’s top doctor is giving an update on COVID-19 in the province — the first since Sunday because of the Louis Riel Day holiday.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin is holding a news conference that began at 12:30 p.m. 

CBC News is live streaming it here and on social media. 

The news conference comes after a weekend in which two Manitoba First Nations reported the possibility that a highly infectious coronavirus variant has been found in their communities.

On Saturday, Pauingassi First Nation detected seven probable cases of the B117 coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom.

On Monday, the chief of Pimicikamak, the Cross Lake First Nation community, confirmed at least one suspected case of the same variant.

Samples from both First Nations have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for confirmation.

The data that will be announced Tuesday by Roussin is expected to include Monday cases as well.

The province announced Sunday that there were 80 new COVID-19 cases and five more people had died after contracting the illness.

Most of those cases — 44 — were in the Northern Health Region, the government said in a news release. 

The province’s five-day test positivity rate rose to 5.2 per cent on Sunday, up from five on Saturday. In Winnipeg, the rate is now 3.9 per cent, up from 3.8.