Manitoba reports highest jump in COVID-19 cases since mid-January, with 261 new infections on Thursday

Manitoba announced one death linked to COVID-19 and 261 new cases of the illness on Thursday — the highest one-day jump the province has seen since the tail end of its second wave more than three months ago.

The last time the province saw a single-day increase that high was on Jan. 14, when Manitoba reported the same number of new infections.

A man in his 70s from the Prairie Mountain Health Region has died after contracting COVID-19, the province says in a news release. His death, which was linked to the Russell Health Centre, brought the number of fatalities connected to the illness to 962.

Manitoba also reported 97 more cases of more infectious coronavirus variants on Thursday, the province’s online variant dashboard says.

Nearly four in every five cases of the more contagious strains identified in Manitoba —  704 of the 901 reported to date — have been in the Winnipeg health region. The B117 strain first identified in the U.K. is by far the most common, with 727 cases, the dashboard says.

Manitoba has also identified 20 cases of the B1351 strain first seen in South Africa and two cases of the P1 variant now associated with Brazil. Another 152 of the province’s known variant cases are still listed as unspecified on the dashboard.

More than half of the new COVID-19 cases are in the Winnipeg health region, which reported 159. The rest are split among the Northern Health Region (which posted 36), the Southern Health region (31), the Interlake-Eastern health region (25) and the Prairie Mountain Health region (10).

There are now 145 COVID-19 patients in hospital in Manitoba, down eight since Wednesday; 35 of those people are in intensive care, up by one.

Manitoba’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is up slightly to 6.4 per cent, from 6.3 on Wednesday, the release says. In Winnipeg, that rate dropped slightly to 6.5 per cent from 6.6.

Outbreaks at the Fairview Personal Care Home in Brandon, Man., and the Dauphin Personal Care Home are now over, the release says.

Manitoba has so far given out 378,914 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and about 28.7 per cent of the adult population has gotten the first shot, the province’s vaccine dashboard says. To date, Manitoba has received 524,250 doses of various COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, the dashboard says.

There have been 36,890 COVID-19 cases identified in Manitoba, with 34,246 deemed recovered and 1,682 still active. That number dropped by several hundred since Wednesday after reviews of active case information led to more cases being deemed recovered instead of active, the release says.

There were 3,427 COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Wednesday.