Morden schools move to remote learning as Manitoba reports 360 new cases, 5 deaths

Manitoba reports 360 new cases and five deaths due to COVID-19 on Thursday, and schools in a southern town will go to remote learning next week.

All public and independent kindergarten to Grade 12 schools in Morden will move to virtual learning on Monday, the province said in a news release. Remote learning will continue there until at least June 21.

Manitoba’s education minister also announced Thursday that schools in the neighbouring Garden Valley School Division will continue remote learning for the remainder of the school year, as will all Winnipeg and Brandon schools and those in the Red River Valley School Division.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital is up slightly on Thursday to 297, with 68 of those patients in Manitoba intensive care units.

Those figures don’t include 39 patients receiving critical care outside the province due to Manitoba’s maxed-out health-care system.

Since May 18, 51 Manitoba COVID-19 patients have been transferred out of province for care. Ten have been returned to Manitoba to recover, including three on Wednesday, Shared Health says.

A woman in her 50s with COVID-19 who was transferred to Ontario on May 23 has died, Manitoba Shared Health said in a statement Thursday.

That’s the second announcement in two days about the death of a Manitoba COVID-19 patient sent out of province for care.

The provincial test positivity rate remains at 11.5 per cent. The rate in Winnipeg is 13.2 per cent, up from 12.9 per cent.

The majority of the new cases — 220 — are in the Winnipeg health region. Another 56 were identified in Southern Health, 42 in Prairie Mountain Health in western Manitoba, 23 in the Northern Health Region and 19 in Interlake-Eastern.

The total number of cases of more contagious variants rose to 11,783, an increase of 464.

WATCH | Dr. Jazz Atwal on exponential rise in cases during Manitoba’s 3rd wave:

Dr. Jazz Atwal, Manitoba’s deputy chief public health officer, said Thursday the province saw a 70 per cent increase in the average number of cases over seven days during the third wave, and he “wouldn’t be surprised” to see some increase in numbers over the next week or two. 1:02

Of Manitoba’s 4,179 active cases, nearly two-thirds are variants.

The five deaths include three women in Winnipeg, in their 40s, 70s and 90s. The eldest woman died due to the B.1.1.7 variant, now named the alpha variant, which was originally detected in the U.K.

A man in his 70s from the Northern Health Region also died, and a man in his 80s in Southern Health died with an unspecified variant of concern.

So far, 1,067 people have died in Manitoba due to COVID-19, including 79 tied to variants.

The province also announced on Thursday a new grant program for religious, community, business, arts, cultural and sports organizations that can demonstrate they can reach vaccine-hesitant groups.

Book an appointment through the province’s website or by calling 1-844-626-8222.