Manitoba health officials announce 400 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths

Manitoba health officials announced 400 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths today.

There are a record-high 249 people in hospital, with 40 of them in intensive care.

The five-day provincial test positivity rate also reached a new high of 14.2 per cent.

“We have been announcing concerning numbers,” said Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin. “This is a very daunting time.”

Five of the deaths are people from the Winnipeg Health Region, including three linked to the Golden Lakes Lodge outbreak. Three people died in the Southern Health region, two in Interlake-Eastern, and one in Prairie Mountain.

All but one of the new deaths are people over age 60. A woman in her 50s from the Southern Health region is among the dead.

Roussin urged Manitobans not to leave their homes except for essential items, and he emphasized that people should not be going to stores for Black Friday sales.

Half of the people in Manitoba intensive care units right now are COVID-19 patients, said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health.

Some staff who normally work in surgery and other departments are being redeployed to medicine units to help with COVID-19 cases in hospitals, she said.

“It’s disruptive for our staff. It’s also really disruptive to our other patients,” she said.

Siragusa said 771 elective and non-urgent surgeries have been cancelled since Oct. 26.

“We just want to acknowledge how hard that is for people,” she said. “We apologize.… It’s something we have to do in the midst of this.”

More to come

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Manitoba health officials will give an update on COVID-19 today as hospital beds remain full nearly a week into a provincewide partial lockdown.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin and Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, will speak about the latest trends in Manitoba at 12:30 p.m. CT. CBC News will live stream the news conference here and on CBC Gem, Facebook and Twitter.

Widespread restrictions came into effect on Thursday, but cases and community spread continue to soar. Records were set for the five-day test positivity rate and hospitalizations on Tuesday.

The hospital system is at or near capacity, with a record-setting 240 COVID-19 patients in hospital as of Tuesday, 41 of them in intensive care. 

Roussin and Siragusa have repeatedly said in recent weeks that health-care workers are struggling to keep up with the influx and can’t sustain the rising rates of hospitalization much longer. 

The number of people in hospital with the illness has doubled since Nov. 1 — from 120 to 240 — with nearly three dozen current patients under the age of 50. More than 300 health-care workers have tested positive since the end of September.

The youngest person to die of COVID-19 yet in Manitoba, a woman in her 30s from the Interlake-Eastern health region, was reported yesterday, bringing the death toll to 179.

Nearly 90 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in the province have occurred since the beginning of last month.