Manitoba reports 1 more case of coronavirus variant first detected in U.K.

Another case of a more contagious coronavirus variant has been identified in Manitoba.

The new case is in the Winnipeg health region and is related to international travel, a provincial spokesperson said.

That brings the total number of confirmed cases of the B117 variant in the province to five, the daily COVID-19 bulletin says, but no further information about the case was released.

In total there are 76 new COVID-19 cases and no more deaths to report on Tuesday, the news release says.

Of the new cases, more than half — 46 — are in the Winnipeg health region. There are 21 cases in the Northern Health Region, seven in the Interlake-Eastern health region, one in the Prairie Mountain Health region and none in the Southern Health region.

It’s only the second time in four months the province has released a COVID-19 update with no new deaths. The last time was Oct. 20. On another day, the province didn’t release any data on deaths because of a data reset.

The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate, a rolling average of the number of tests that come back positive, is down slightly to five per cent provincially and 4.3 per cent in Winnipeg.

There are now 216 COVID-19 patients in hospital in Manitoba, up by 10 since Monday, with 33 of those people in intensive care.

The province says 1,390 tests were done on Monday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February of last year to 515,792.

Outbreaks announced

Public health officials announced two outbreaks in Winnipeg on Tuesday, at St. Boniface Hospital Unit A5 and Poseidon Care Centre.

Outbreaks are considered over at River East Personal Care Home and Deer Lodge Centre in Winnipeg, and the dialysis unit at St. Anthony’s General Hospital in The Pas.

The province is also advising of a possible COVID-19 exposure on board Perimeter Airlines Flight JV639 on Feb. 17 from Garden Hill to St. Theresa Point to Winnipeg, between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Any person concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 should call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257 to be screened to see if a test is required. 

The update comes after the province announced on Monday new, aggressive rules to manage COVID-19 cases and close contacts amid fears about extremely contagious variants at the same time as it eases its months-long lockdown.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced Monday a new definition of a close contact and strict rules for all COVID-19 case contacts.

He also announced 97 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths on Monday.