Manitoba hits new high for COVID-19 patients in ICU as another 303 cases, 1 death reported Monday

Manitoba public health officials report 303 new COVID-19 cases and 1 death on Monday, but they believe the number of cases is actually higher, and the province hit a new record for people in hospital ICUs.

Due to technical issues, Monday’s new case total is an undercount, a news release from the province says, and Tuesday’s data will be an overcount as a result.

The death announced Monday is a man in his 70s from the Interlake-Eastern health region, linked to the B117 variant of concern. The total number of Manitobans who have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began is 1,053.

The province now has a record 107 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units: 71 in Manitoba, 35 in Ontario and one in Saskatchewan.

There were 30 COVID patients admitted to Manitoba intensive care units during a 48-hour period from Friday to Sunday.

A record 17 COVID patients under the age of 40 were in ICU as of Monday morning, which is a 54 per cent jump from only seven days ago, Shared Health says in an update on its website.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | May 31, 2021:

Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Monday, May 31, 2021. 45:37

To date, 246 COVID patients have been admitted to Manitoba ICUs in the month of May — nearly five times more than the 50 admitted to ICUs the previous month.

And all of those are in addition to critical care patients who do not have COVID-19, lending to the tremendous strain on the health-care system, officials said.

Of the 303 new COVID-19 cases announced Monday, 226 are in the Winnipeg health region.

There are 37 in the Southern Health region, 15 in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 13 in the Northern Health Region and 12 in the Interlake-Eastern health region.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 12.1 per cent in Manitoba (down from 12.3) and 13.7 per cent in Winnipeg (up from 13.6).

There are 308 people with COVID-19 in Manitoba hospitals, the same number as Sunday. Included among those are the 71 in ICU.

An outbreak at Holy Cross School in Winnipeg has now been declared over, health officials said.

Early grad and more help

The province said in a news release on the Shared Health website that it is taking a number of measures to increase staffing during the pandemic and ease the burden on those already working.

More than a dozen respiratory therapy students will be brought in through an agreement with the University of Manitoba that will allow them to graduate early.

The 13 students have already completed the majority of their requirements and will finish any outstanding ones during their orientation, the news release said.

As well, a two-week orientation to critical care begins Monday for 15 nurses, which will bring the total number of nurses who have signed up for the orientation to critical care since April 19 to 119.

Upon completion of the orientation, the nurses will be moved into the ICUs.

There are also six Canadian Red Cross nurses now in Manitoba, completing their orientation to work at Health Sciences Centre, as part of the federal help for the province.

Three medical lab technologists from the Canadian Armed Forces started training last Friday to support COVID-19 testing in Shared Health Manitoba labs, while a Canadian Armed Forces crew and aircraft are assisting in the transport of some ICU patients.

Planning is underway for the allocation of additional resources in the coming days, the Shared Health news release says.