Manitoba reports 169 new cases of COVID-19, lowest number since April

Manitoba public health officials announced 169 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths on Monday.

That is the lowest daily case count since April 21, when there were 164.

Both deaths — a man and woman in their 60s — are from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant, also called the alpha variant.

The total number of deaths of people with COVID-19 is now 1,077 in Manitoba. That includes 84 linked to the more contagious variants.

The daily numbers have been declining after hitting a record 603 in mid-May. The seven-day average in Manitoba is now 265, after peaking at 482 on May 22.

Of the latest cases, 111 are from the Winnipeg health region, 27 are from the Southern Health region, 16 are from the Northern Health Region, nine are from the Prairie Mountain Health region and six from the Interlake-Eastern health region.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin acknowledged the improvement in day-to-day numbers and gave credit to the people abiding by the public health orders.

“Manitobans have been working hard to address this. By staying home as much as possible, we’ve been able to start breaking some transmission chains and start seeing some of these numbers coming down,” he said, but added, “Our health-care system is still struggling. We still have a ways to go in that regard.”

There are 102 Manitobans receiving intensive care for COVID-19 — 66 in the province and 36 in ICUs outside the province: 33 in Ontario, two in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba also sent two cardiac patients out of the province to get surgery last week. One was sent to a facility in Ontario and the other was sent to Quebec.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 11.9 per cent provincially (down slightly from 12 on Sunday) and 12.7 per cent in Winnipeg (down from 13).

The number of COVID-19 tests completed on Sunday, however, was just 1,838. That’s a significant decline from last week, when the number of daily tests ranged from about 2,400 to almost 3,000.

Many doctors and nurses say morale and staffing are at all-time lows in the province’s over-capacity health-care system.

More than 60 doctors at three Winnipeg hospitals signed their names to a letter sent on Saturday to Premier Brian Pallister and acting health minister Kelvin Goertzen expressing “grave concern” over the state of nursing in emergency departments in the city.

The letter says exhaustion and stress levels are rampant due to the exceptionally high number of hours that emergency room staff are working.