Manitoba reports 502 new cases, 4 deaths due to COVID-19

Manitoba announced 502 more cases of COVID-19 and four new deaths related to the illness on Monday.

The number of Manitobans in hospital rose to 215, with 60 of those patients in intensive care. On Sunday, there were 52 COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

The provincial test positivity rate rose to 11.6 from 10.9 per cent, while the rate in Winnipeg rose to 13.8 per cent from 13 per cent on Sunday.

The four people who died include three people who had the B117 coronavirus variant originally detected in the U.K.: a man in his 40s from the Southern Health region, a man in his 60s from Winnipeg, and a man in his 80s from Southern Health region. The fourth person who died was a man in his 50s from the Northern Health region.

The number of cases confirmed as variants is only updated from Tuesday to Saturday. The last update pegged variant cases to date at 3,665. The more transmissible variants made up over a third of Manitoba’s 3,771 active cases. 

So far, 997 people have died due to COVID-19.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, said the latest spike in cases is partly tied to private gatherings and people having too many close contacts or not isolating when they should. Gatherings, indoors or out, have been banned in Manitoba for almost two weeks, other than in outdoor public places, where a maximum of five people are allowed to gather.

Manitobans can expect to soon see updated modelling of what the current crush of cases could mean for hospitalizations, Roussin said.

Manitoba’s reopening plan will be partly contingent on vaccination rates, hospital capacity and local epidemiology, he said. Those plans will resemble what Saskatchewan recently released, including targets for when some restrictions might be able to be relaxed.

On Sunday, Roussin and Manitoba’s education minister announced all Winnipeg and Brandon schools will go to remote learning on Wednesday until at least May 30. Some schools outside those cities are also closing.

There will be more school closures announced soon, Roussin said.

“A lot of people are very tired of this … but we do need to hang in there,” he said.

More to come

Read the previous story below:

Manitoba’s chief public health officer will hold a news conference Monday, one day after announcing all kindergarten to Grade 12 schools in Winnipeg and Brandon will switch to remote learning starting Wednesday.

Dr. Brent Roussin will hold the news conference at 12:30 p.m. CBC News will live stream it on our website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Gem.

On Sunday, Roussin and Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced that all K-12 schools in the province will remain in remote learning until May 30, out of concern over a rising tide of COVID-19 cases that threatens to surpass the height of Manitoba’s second wave.

The same day Cullen and Roussin made the announcement, the province posted its second-highest daily case count with 532 new cases. That number was only surpassed on one other day, Nov. 24, 2020, when there were 546 new cases announced.

Manitoba is in a race to get more vaccines out before the increasing number of cases, driven by more contagious variants of the virus, leads to an overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization. 

The age of eligibility for a vaccine dropped to anyone 35 and older over the weekend. 

A new supersite opens in Dauphin on Monday, at 304 Whitmore Ave. E.