Manitoba COVID hospitalizations rose 20 per cent in 1 week, data says

The number of COVID-19 patients in Manitoba hospitals rose 20 per cent over the past week, but intensive care patient numbers held steady, says data obtained by CBC News.

As of Tuesday, 538 patients with COVID-19 occupied a hospital bed in Manitoba, internal provincial data says. That’s a rise of 90 patients from the 448 in hospital on April 12.

Over the same one-week period, there was no rise in the number of COVID patients in provincial intensive care wards, the data says. 

That number held steady at 26 — 25 adults and one pediatric case.

The province no longer discloses publicly the total number of COVID-19 patients in hospital at any given time. Instead, it releases a weekly epidemiological report that includes the number of new hospital and ICU admissions due to COVID.

The most recent of those reports, which covers the week of April 3 to 9, said 177 people were admitted to hospital with COVID-19, an increase of 26 per cent over the previous week.

It is unclear how the rise in COVID hospitalizations is affecting hospital capacity. Manitoba intensive care wards continue to handle smaller patient burdens than they did during the initial Omicron wave. 

On Tuesday, Manitoba Shared Health said there were a total of 86 patients of all diagnoses — COVID and non-COVID — in Manitoba ICUs, a drop of eight patients since Thursday.

The Omicron subvariant BA.2 is now believed to be the dominant strain of the virus in Manitoba. In other provinces, health officials have said the BA.2 wave is not as acute as the initial wave of Omicron.

“No one in health care would support the ‘Let it rip’ approach, but in terms of hospitalization capacity, we’re not seeing the same strain in our ICU capacity as we did with [the Delta variant] and we should be able to manage,” Dr. Eddy Lang, the department head of emergency medicine in Alberta Health Services in Calgary, told the Canadian Press on Monday.

In his most recent news conference, on April 7, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said COVID transmission is rising but the province will not be taking any new measures to combat it.

The data obtained by CBC News says 1,779 Manitobans have died with or from COVID-19. That’s a rise of 15 in the eight days since CBC last obtained internal provincial COVID data.